General News of Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Authorities of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), have denied reports that the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Obiri Danso has resigned.
The University’s Public Relations Officer, Kwame Yeboah, said such reports “should be disregarded.”
“It is a figment of somebody’s imagination. I am sure you just saw him. We just returned. He has not resigned,” he told the media.
Mr. Yeboah was speaking after Management of the University sat through a crunch meeting which was chaired by the Minister of Education Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, following the shutdown of the school after a violent protest by students on Monday.
The Information Minister, the National Security Minister and Members of the Ashanti Regional Security Council were part of the meeting.
The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) organised the protest over claims the KNUST authorities were abusing their authority and also complained about instances of brutality by campus security personnel.
But the protests turned violent when some students vandalized buildings, staff cars,motorbikes and a security office.
Students have been asked to leave the school’s premises indefinitely and there are no timelines on when the school will reopen.
Mr. Yeboah said the school was looking for a solution as quickly as possible for the school can be reopened.
He also said there was the need to find out the genesis of tensions between students and the KNUST management.
“…So in the interim, the council is going to meet on the issue and as quickly as possible, see how best certain things could be done so the university can be reopened.”
What triggered the latest protests?
The arrest of 10 students and one alumnus of the school compelled the SRC to mobilise for the protest.
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 was hospitalised admission at the KNUST hospital.
The Executive Council of the SRC said the demonstration was necessary to convey student frustration.
The arrests came after the KNUST management served notice that it had suspended the organisation of vigils (morales) in the school.
The management said this was because of “several negative issues encountered recently with respect to morales in the hall.”
Some of the protestors called for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
The SRC said the actions of the campus security and the police officers were a “gross deviation” because the two agencies were rather to protect them.
The council also promised students that it would ensure the security officers who allegedly manhandled students were held accountable whilst urging them to hence students should remain calm.
Fallout from the rioting
Over 20 students were arrested following the violent protests. The actions of the violent protesters has been roundly condemned.
But an executive of the KNUST SRC described the violent protest in the school as a necessary evil.
According to the executive who spoke on condition of anonymity on the Citi Breakfast Show, no alternative action would have compelled the management to put an end to its abuse to students.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has since summoned the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, and Education Minister, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh to a meeting over recent developments.
The two ministers are expected to brief the president on the situation and also inform him about measures that have been put in place bring matters to rest.