Home campus gist Scores Injured, Vehicles Damaged As Soldiers Storm UNIBEN In ‘Reprisal’ Attack

Scores Injured, Vehicles Damaged As Soldiers Storm UNIBEN In ‘Reprisal’ Attack

Vehicles said to belong to the University and its staff parked within the institution’s premises were not spared as their windscreens were smashed by the rampaging unknown Soldiers.

It was tales of woes, sorrow and blood for some students and staff of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) in Edo State when unspecified number of yet-to-be identified military men from the S&T Barracks Ugbowo, stormed the Ivory Tower in the wee hours of Friday in what looked like a reprisal attack.

At the end of the midnight invasion, scores of University of Benin security guards at the main entrance gate and passersby were injured as the sound of sporadic gunshots were heard by neighbours and passersby, which was said to have lasted for almost an hour.

The alleged “reprisal” attack followed early Thursday’s clash between some students of the University and Soldiers, resulting from resistance of the students to the Soldiers’ attempt to shunt ATM queues on campus.

The soldiers were said to have descended on a female student, who they assumed was video-recording the act.
Angered by the action of the female student, the soldiers also attempted to forcefully take her to their barracks, which was resisted by a large crowd of students.

A security officer on campus, who was said to have intervened in the ensuing melee, was allegedly assaulted by the angry soldiers.

The development reportedly led to a retaliation from the angry civilians.

A viral video of the incident showed one of the soldiers on the floor overpowered and trampled upon in the ensuing pandemonium.

The soldier was eventually said to have escaped from the university campus through the fence.

It was gathered that the soldiers believed to be from S&T Barracks in Benin City subsequently invaded the university campus late Thursday night by scaling the perimeter fence to beat up security officers on night duty and destroying several vehicles parked within the campus.

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Some unarmed civilians including residents on campus, who were attempting to use the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) on bank road in the school premises, were caught up in the reprisal attack and were also not left out as the soldiers pounced on them, leaving them with various degree of injuries.

When our Correspondent visited the troubled Ivory Tower at the Ugbowo campus, several damaged vehicles littered the vicinity of the main campus.

Some of the injured, it was gathered, were taken to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) for urgent medical attention.

A medical personnel at the tertiary hospital said many of the injured were brought in early Friday morning and they (medical personnel) had a busy time attending to them.

Meanwhile, the Management of UNIBEN has appealed to staff members and students for calm and not to take the law into their hands or protest over the incident.

In a statement 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.

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“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.”

However, when contacted, the Edo State Police spokesman, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, said he was in Abuja and could not give details on the incident but directed our correspondent to speak with his 2i/c, ASP Jennifer Iwegbu, who confirmed the incident.

ASP Iwegbu said all efforts were on to restore peace back just as he also appealed for calm.

As at the time of filing this report, the Military authorities was yet to issue any statement on the incident

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