By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
It was confusion galore on Monday at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan when two staff of the institute were hit by stray bullets during an early morning crisis between the students of the Federal College of Agriculture, Moore Plantation, Apata Ibadan and men of the Oyo State Police Command.
New Nigerian gathered that during the students, police clash, no fewer than 12 people comprising of an industrial training (IT) student, a staff identified as Lanre Johnson and ten other staffs sustained serious injuries on their heads, legs, toes and arms,
It was also learnt that five cars said to belong to staff of IAR&T were also damaged during the over two hours crisis that rocked the Odo Ona area of institute’s campus.
Our correspondent learnt that trouble started midway into the protest by the students when men of the Oyo State Police Command arrived the institute’s campus to maintain law and order by dispersing the protesting students but were reportedly resisted.
Sources said the policemen sensing that the students protest against the leadership of the institute’s Provost, Dr. Babajide Adelekan which started on a peaceful note may go out of control, reportedly called for reinforcement resulting in the chasing around of the students by the policemen.
Eye witness accounts stressed that it was at this point that some of the policemen while attempting to disperse the protesting students, a staff of the institute identified as Mrs Helen Adekanmi and another male staff were hit by bullets from the sporadic shots.
The two IAR&T staff hit by the bullets were later rushed to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan for treatment while others with injuries were rushed to a nearby hospital.
Speaking on the crisis, the IAR&T Executive Director, Professor James Adediran said that it was unfortunate that policemen could not differentiate between staff of the institute and students and staff of the College of Agriculture who were protesting, saying, his staff were about to resume for work when the policemen came to invade the premises without sparing anyone.
“This morning, our staff came to their places of work and unfortunately the gates were locked, they had to look for ways to enter into the premises, and unfortunately we learnt that students were on rampage shouting and demonstrating on the main road, so it was difficult to enter.
“And personally, I was not around, I was on my way to Abuja and I had to return back after Ilesa, I was already traveling, I had to return on my way. When I came back I was told that the police entered the premises and started shooting and to be sincere, I want to say that two of our staff were shot,” he said.
Professor Adediran added “What really happened is that there were stray bullets, the two of them, one on the head and the other one in the abdomen. The two of them are still in the hospital. They were rushed to the hospital, they are now receiving treatment.
“I was told that they are recovering. I am to visit the hospital to know the state of their health. This is IAR&T, there are three institutions in this premises, Federal College of Agriculture, Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology and the IAR&T. As I told you, two of our staff are in the hospital, one was hit on the leg and the other in the abdomen. Some were injured on their heads and hands,” he stressed.
Confirming the incident, Oyo State Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Adekunle Ajisebutu said the protesting students “damaged no fewer than 16 vehicles and injured some policemen”
SP Ajisebutu added that “five arrests were made and some dangerous weapons recovered from them.
” Students of the Federal College of Agric, Ibadan embarked on violent protest. The rampaging students who blocked the major highway, caused breakdown of law and order. CP Abiodun Odude has directed CIID to carry out discreet investigation into the violent disturbance,” he added.