A part of Ikere-Ekiti community, in Ekiti State was yesterday taken over by armed security personnel following a protest by students of the College of Education Ikere-Ekiti over outrageous tuition fees introduced by the management of the institution.
Carrying placards of various inscriptions, the students brought commercial activities in the second largest town in the state to a halt.
They called on the state governor, Kayode Fayemi to urgently relieve the College’s Provost, Titilayo Ogunmola of her appointment for allegedly disobeying his directive that students would not pay outrageous fees during his tenure.
While the protest was going on, a student was knocked down by a commercial vehicle at Odo Oja Area of Ikere Ekiti.
The development forced the students to completely block the Ado-Akure road, making it impassable. In order to ensure that the crisis did not degenerate, the state government, hurriedly ordered the indefinite closure of the institution.
Some soldiers, who were on their way to Akure, the Ondo State capital in a convoy of five trucks, suddenly ran into the students’ protest and decided bring back some order since there were no policemen on sight. Later, a Chief Superintendent of Police, Lukman Adejumo led some mobile policemen into the town to ensure that the protest did not snowball into full scale violence. The soldiers removed some of the bonfires made by the students on the roads while the protest lasted. The students called for the immediate reduction of their tuition fees.
The Speaker of the Students’ Parliament, Clement Maduabum said: “We are against the clandestine introduction of fees by the institution’s authority; it is an outright deprivation of our rights. We will resist the outrageous increment with the last drop of our blood.
“The students will not undertake the first semester examinations which is billed to commence, until the matter is resolved in our favour. The closure of the school will not in any way discourage the students from pursuing the issue to a logical conclusion.” Investigation revealed that new intakes of the college were to pay as much as N40,000, while the 200 and 300 level students will pay N39,000 and N29,000 respectively, as against the N20,000 being paid in the past.
In her reaction, the Provost explained that the authorities of the institution decided to shut it down to prevent the breakdown of law and order. On allegation of high-handedness and extortion leveled against her by the students, Mrs Ogunmola denied saying, “I want to believe that it is politically motivated if they are now overnight calling for my removal, I have tried my best to develop the institution as an administrator and mother.” As at the time of filing this report, armed mobile policemen were patrolling the streets of the town to ensure that there is no futher breakdown of law and order.