Soldiers Shoot Three Protesting Students In Calabar

Men of the Nigerian Army on Friday in Calabar, allegedly shot two unidentified students of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) and another of Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) during a protest against the Cross River State Commissioner of Youths and Sports, Asu Okang.

The students were said to be protesting against the Commissioner over the sharing formula of the N21 million released by Governor Ben Ayade and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio for their mobilization to Cross River 50th anniversary celebration.

Fearless Reports gathered that trouble started when the Commissioner failed to disbursed the money as agreed to the students and other youths organizations.

The Students' Union Government President of UNICAL, Anthony Afufu, an eye witness explained that "trouble started when the Commissioner failed to disburse the N8 million Governor Ayade released for demobilization of students who came out to join in the 50th anniversary of Cross River at he told us earlier.

"Apart from the N8 million, Ayade also donated another N10 million to students and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio also donated N3 million to UNICAL students amounting to N21 million.

"The Commissioner had earlier told us that every group will be given N1 million each. He gave Cross River State College of Health Technology Students N1 million, gave CRUTECH N500,000 and corp members N1 million.

"But when he got to UNICAL, he said he gave me N1 million which was not true. Other appointees and students who where there came out to defend me and he later accepted that it was a mistake".

He noted that the Commissioner invited them to the government house to address the situation but students were angry and took to the street when he left them for hours without any statement.

"When he was driving out, we met him and he accepted his mistake and then invited us over to the government house. When we got there, he left us waiting for hours without telling us anything. It was at that point that students became angry and took to the street to protest against him with the view of attracting the Governor's attention to what was happening. 

"We barricaded the highway along transcporp in a peaceful protest. It was during this time that soldiers came and started shooting sporadically and wounded three Nigerian students. Two are UNICAL students while one is a CRUTECH student", he added.

He lamented that "I have spent a lot of money trying to see how we can safe the lives of these innocent students but as we speak, the Commissioner who perpetrated this evil is yet to visit them in the hospital or show any form of solidarity. But he's busy going about feeding the public with false information that he gave me N1 million".

Anther student leader who spoke but pleaded not to be metioned accused the Commissioner of ordering soldiers to shoot the protesting students.

He said that “The students suspected that the Youths Commissioner wanted to abscond with the money.

“He called us and announced to us that each union will get one million while others will get 500k. He just announced but did not give us the cash and after the event, comrades became uneasy and we decided to protest and barricade the road at Transcorp hotel.

“It was in the course of our protest that the soldiers shot live bullets and wounded three persons under the directive of the Commissioner of Youths and Sports, Asu Okang.”

The Commissioner when contacted on phone promised said he was going to the hospital to the victims and will back to our reporter. Over two hours later, he failed to  react even after several phone calls and text message.

But earlier, he sent a message to our reporter on Facebook describing the incident as highly condemnable.

According to the message, "I think what happened to these our brothers is rather unfortubate and highly condemnable".

When contacted, the Information Officer of the Nigerian Army, Cross River State Command, Captain Kayode Owolabi denied the allegation saying that it was a mere rumour.

He said that "There is nowhere in the state that my men shot anybody. May be it is just a mere rumour carried by some people".

When presses further he added that "No, it is not my men that shot them. You know there's a new thing now that Army wears the same camouflage with Navy and Air Force; if there was anything like that by now I would have heard it but I don't think there is anything like that.

"Sometimes, some people will just come to you the press and carry some biased information. So I can tell you categorically that there is nothing like that".
Cross River 423105231614347406

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