Education Ministry to meet authorities, students over KNUST protest

General News of Monday, 22 October 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

2018-10-22

Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Education Minister

A delegation from the Ministry of Education will meet authorities and students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, following a violent protest staged by the latter that led to the destruction of public and private properties.

A statement from the Education Ministry said: “a delegation from the Ministry, led by the Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, will be at KNUST campus to meet the university authorities and the students tomorrow 23rd October 2018 at 10 am.”

The students were protesting alleged brutalities meted out to their colleagues who were arrested at the University Hall on Friday and later granted bail.

The Ministry in the statement also appealed for calm, saying: “The Ministry of Education has noted with concern developments on the campus of the KNUST in Kumasi, particularly with regard to bodily injuries and the detention of some students, as well as the destruction of public property. The Ministry appeals for calm on all sides as a first step to resolving the difficulties.”

Three students believed to be involved in the violent protest have been arrested.

Citi News’ Ashanti Regional correspondent, Hafiz Tijani, reported that armed military and police personnel took over the KNUST campus after the protest led to the destruction of private and public properties.

“The protest which started as a peaceful one, nearly turned chaotic when armed police officers fired gunshots to disperse the rampaging students. The students marched through campus amidst chants and held placards which called for the Vice-Chancellor to be sacked. Some other placards spoke against what the students called brutalities being meted to their colleagues by internal security. Streetlights, signages, glass doors at the main administration block have all been destroyed. Dustbins were destroyed, leaving piles of refuse scattered all over.”

“Vehicles and motorbikes belonging to teaching and non-teaching staff were also not spared. Some offices and cars were ransacked, while properties at the school were also destroyed. Lectures were eventually boycotted as students who defied the SRC’s directive not to go for lectures later joined in the protest. Police looked helpless while the destruction was going on, ” Hafiz reported.

Speaking to Citi News, the University Relations Officer, Kwame Yeboah Jnr said the school will assess the extent of damage caused and take appropriate measures.

Katanga Alumni Association blames authorities for protest

Meanwhile, the Katanga Alumni Association has condemned the violent conduct of students.

The Association, however, says school authorities are to blame for the situation.

“We wish this did not come this far, but if it gets to a point where the University police or security brutalize students, you get to a point where students want to defend themselves and if it gets there, there is little the alumni can do and that is why we are trying to negotiate with the University,” Organizing secretary of the Association, Antony Avege said.

Background

The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) led demonstration following the arrest of 10 students and one alumnus of the school.

The Executive Council of the SRC said the demonstration was necessary to end the management’s abuse of power.

The students were arrested for a holding vigil on campus last Friday without permission.

One other student who was allegedly manhandled by the internal security is currently on admission at the KNUST hospital.The KNUST management, however, justified the arrests.

The University’s Public Relations Officer, Kwame Yeboah, told Citi News the affected students did not seek permission before undertaking the vigil, contrary to the rules of the university.

“The university thinks certain activities in the night should not be entertained. Some other activities are permitted because the students applied for permission. But there was no permission for last Friday’s activity. The students decided to go their own way. They decided not to obey any rules or regulations on campus, and the law doesn’t permit that. So when it happened, the police were brought in,” he said.

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