TWO students of the University of Port Harcourt were on Monday feared killed during a protest over an alleged policy by the management of the institution that school fees must be paid before they would be allowed to take their first semester examinations.
One of the students identified as Peter Ofurun, who was said to have been hit by a bullet from a policeman, died instantly. Another student also hit by a bullet was rushed to the hospital, even as sources claimed that she died on the way to the hospital.
However, the Rivers Police Command on Monday denied that there were casualties during a protest by students of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT).
The command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Ahmad Muhammad, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt.
He said that there was no casualty on the part of the police or students during the violent protest by the students over a “no tuition fee-no examination fee” policy introduced by the UNIPORT management.
“No student or policeman lost their lives during the UNIPORT protest.
“The policeman reported dead had nothing to do with UNIPORT, because the deceased policeman was shot dead by armed robbers in an isolated case.
“Similarly, no university student was killed to the best of my knowledge.
“All roads earlier blocked by the protesting students have been reopened by the police,” he said
Muhammad said the police was cooperating with UNIPORT management to ensure that normalcy was restored on campus and host communities.
NAN reports that management of UNIPORT had announced the closure of the university for one month following the students’ protest over new tuition fee policy on Monday in Port Harcourt.
UNIPORT management had in 2015, adopted a policy which made tuition fee a prerequisite for students’ participation in examination, a policy which compelled defaulting students to repeat a whole academic session.
The protest which initially started on a peaceful note, later turned violent with students destroying school property worth millions of naira.
They demanded the withdrawal of the policy, which they argued, was unfair to poor students.