General News of Monday, 22 October 2018
Over twenty students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in Kumasi, have been arrested after students went on rampage on Monday morning, destroying public and private property in a violent protest.
This was confirmed by the University’s Relations Officer, Kwame Yeboah Jnr.
The students were protesting alleged brutalities meted out to their colleagues who were arrested at the University Hall last Friday and later granted bail.
Citi News’ Ashanti Regional correspondent, Hafiz Tijani, reported that armed military and police personnel have taken 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.
REGSEC orders closure of KNUST, imposes curfew after violent protest
Students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology [KNUST], would have to vacate the school premises by midday on Tuesday, October 23, 2018.
This follows an order by the Ashanti Regional Security Council REGSEC to the University, to close down indefinitely in the wake of the unrest.
Citi News can also confirm that, the Council has imposed a 12-hour curfew on the campus from 6:00pm to 6:00am, which takes effect today, Monday.
The decision, which was announced by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, excludes foreign students who will be given full security protection.
“The decision that has been taken by REGSEC is that, today [Monday] from 6:00pm to 6:00am, we have imposed a curfew on campus. So, no one is going out from 6:00pm. All students should be in their hall of residence.”
“After that, between 6:00am and 12:00noon tomorrow [Tuesday], every student must vacate the school premises including student leaders. The only people who will be permitted to stay are foreign students. We are going to provide security for such students. We will meet [relevant stakeholders] tomorrow [Tuesday] to agree on a tentative date that the school will be reopened”, Mr. Mensah added.
The decision to close down the school, was taken in consultation with management of the university.
Speaking to Citi News, the University Relations Officer, Kwame Yeboah Jnr said the school will assess the extent of damage caused and take the 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.
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 neglect of students.
The students were arrested for a holding vigil on campus last Friday without permission according to the school authorities.
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.