Authorities of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State, were forced to close down the institution yesterday when a protest by the students over lack of potable water and arbitrary hike in fees got out of control.
The protesting students, who were allegedly led by the suspended President of the Students Union Government (SUG), Itote Damisa, succeeded in burning down the building housing the Faculty of Arts before they could be brought under control.
The institution’s Registrar, Mrs Josephine Omole, who announced the closure, in a statement, yesterday, advised the students to vacate their halls of residence by 11 a.m.
The statement reads: “The closure is sequel to the unruly behaviour of the students, following the suspension of the members of the executive committee of the Students Union for breach of their matriculation oath and oath of office. All students are hereby advised to vacate the halls of residence and go to their respective homes latest by 11 a.m.”
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sam Uniamikogbo, told the Nigerian Compass, on telephone, that the closure was to allow the institution prepare adequately for the resumption of normal academic activities.
He lamented that the protest which they believed had ended,on Wednesday, resumed again, yesterday, despite the deployment of anti-riot and regular policemen in the areas surrounding the university.
The institution’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Chris Adamigbo said the closure was also intended to save the lives and property of residents of the areas affected by the protest.
While the protest lasted, the students barricaded the Benin-Auchi-Abuja road with bonfires, consequently, creating panic among residents, traders and motorists.