General News of Wednesday, 24 October 2018
President Akufo-Addo yesterday delegated three ministers from Accra to assess the situation at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi over the riots that rocked the university on Monday.
The ministers, who were joined by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, obtained firsthand information about the situation at the university which has since been closed down, with students ordered to vacate campus by close of day yesterday.
Buses were seen at vantage points on campus ready to convey students when DAILY GUIDE visited the school yesterday.
The ministers- Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, popularly called Napo, National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah and the Information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah- met the university officials, including the Vice Chancellor Prof. Obiri Danso.
Prof. Obiri Danso was reportedly grilled yesterday over what led to the riot and massive destruction of property in the university on Monday.
The beleaguered VC, without doubt, was faced with the difficult task of responding to several questions posed to him by the four ministers.
The purpose of the meeting, the paper learnt, was to help find a lasting solution to the problems in the university to ensure the smooth running of the school.
It was also to help unearth all the grievances, if any, between the school authorities and the students, which culminated in the massive demonstration on Monday.
The meeting took place at the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) in Kumasi.
It was held behind closed doors in the Regional Minister’s office and lasted for several hours on Tuesday.
Snippets of information gleaned by DAILY GUIDE from sources indicated that the KNUST VC experienced nightmarish moments during the meeting.
Reports indicated that the ministers took turns to ask Prof. Obiri-Danso questions as to what might have caused the riot.
The KNUST VC, who has come under severe fire, reportedly struggled to answer some of the key questions that were posed to him.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that issues like the conversion of the male halls to unisex halls at the KNUST, which clearly contributed to the commotion in the school, were widely discussed.
Prof. Obiri-Danso was said to have struggled to answer questions on the conversion of the halls.
As at the time of filing this report, DAILY GUIDE learnt the crunch meeting was still ongoing.
Meanwhile, authorities of the University have denied reports that the Vice Chancellor has resigned.
The University’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), 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 at the RCC.
Students of the school went on rampage, destroying several cars, motorbikes among others on Monday.
The students had planned to embark on a peaceful demonstration to drum home their grievances, which they claimed were intimidation and abuse of their rights by the KNUST leadership.
But the supposed peaceful demonstration turned nasty, as some of the irate students caused destruction to property in the university.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, expressed shock at the massive destruction of property at KNUST.
He said such destruction of property should never be repeated in any campus in the country.
Otumfuo, who is the Chancellor of the KNUST but currently out of jurisdiction, admonished the students to always resort to dialogue to address their grievances.
The Bantamahene, Baffuor Owusu Amankwatia made the remarks on behalf of the Asantehene, who is currently outside the country.
This was after the Bantamahene, who is also known traditionally as the Kumasihene, led some Asante chiefs to tour the KNUST campus on Tuesday.
The visit was to give the Bantamahene and the other chiefs the opportunity to assess the extent of damage caused by the irate KNUST students on Monday.
“We are here to inspect the extent of damage on the campus so that we can properly brief the Asantehene, who is the Chancellor of the school to enable him take the required action when he returns from abroad”.
He entreated the feuding parties to exercise restraint, noting that the chiefs would intervene to help resolve the issue as soon as possible.
The Bantamahene disclosed that the feuding parties would be invited to the Manhyia Palace on Thursday to brief the chiefs about the issue.
He said the chiefs value education, which is the bedrock of the nation’s development, adding that all hands must be on deck to resolve the problems at KNUST.