Scores of unarmed civilians have been left injured and several vehicles destroyed at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Ugbowo main campus, in alleged revenge attacks launched by the Nigerian military.
The alleged ‘reprisals’ came last night following Thursday’s clash between some UNIBEN students and soldiers, resulting from resistance of the students to the soldiers’ attempt to jump ATM queues on campus.
The soldiers were said to have descended heavily on a female student who they assumed was recording their ungodly act on tape. This, however, did not go down well with other civilians on queue who attempted to mediate or intervene.
Things, however, escalated quickly after the soldiers reportedly attempted to forcefully abduct the student to their barrack apparently to ‘deal with her’ but for the quick intervention of the school security department. The security officers, however, met a strong resistance from the soldiers who allegedly assaulted the officers including the Chief Security Officer (CSO).
The development reportedly led to a mid retaliation from angry civilians. In a viral video seen by this online media, one of the soldiers could be seen on the floor, temporarily restrained and neutralised. He would later manage to scale the university’s fence and call for backup.
CAMPUS GIST gathered that the soldiers believed to be from S&T Barracks in Benin City invaded the university campus at night by scaling the perimeter fencing to beat up security officers on night duty, destroying several vehicles parked on campus.
Some unarmed civilians including staff on campus who were attempting to use the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) on bank road in the school premises were caught up in the ‘reprisals’ as they were also not left out as the soldiers pounced on them, leaving them with various degree of injuries.
A drive past the UNIBEN Ugbowo main campus early Friday morning show vehicles belonging to the institution and private individuals were not left out in the reprisals as the windscreens were completely shattered and destroyed by the soldiers.
Some of the injured, this Reporter gathered, were taken to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) for urgent medical attention. A medical personnel at the hospital told this online media that many of the injured were brought in early morning and they(medical personnel) had a busy time attending to the wounded.
As at the time of filing this report, the University Management has appealed to staff and students for calm and not take law into their hands or protest over the development.
In a statement made available to CAMPUS GIST early Friday morning personally signed by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Lilian Salami, she said management was in discussion with the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army for amicable resolution.
“The Management acknowledges that these are challenging times for everyone and enjoins all to remain calm while efforts are being made to avert a re-occurrence,” she said.
Professor Salami called on the students to “constantly engage dialogue in resolving issues that concern them rather than taking to protests, at any provocation, thereby causing more injury and damage to themselves and other citizens.”