Operatives of the Nigerian police have arrested over fifty students of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).
The Students Union Government (SUG) President of the institution, Donatus Okolieuwa made this known in a statement issued on Saturday.
He said that the students were picked up by the anti-cult squad on Friday evening on the university campus.
The students were said to have been arrested over alleged cultism.
But Okolieuwa described the arrest of the students as detestable and condemnable, appealing to Governor Peter Mbah to wade into the matter to enable the affected students regain their freedom.
We, therefore, call upon our compassionate Governor, His Excellency Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, to address this matter urgently and utilise his esteemed position to secure the freedom of our students. Our students should not endure undue suffering and punishment without just cause.”
When questioned about the incident’s circumstances, the SUG President provided a detailed account, saying: “While I was attending a students’ meeting at Dragon Relaxation Center, 82 Division, Enugu, a student called and informed me that armed men had stormed the school cafeteria at around 5-6 PM. They arrived in two Hilux vans and one Siena bus, firing gunshots into the air.”
“Given the manner of their arrival and the prevailing stories of unknown gunmen in society, as well as the gunfire, the students present in front of the cafeteria began to flee for their safety, abandoning their drinks.”
“In pursuit, the armed men chased after the students, surrounding and capturing all of them. They proceeded to enter the cafeteria, arresting everyone inside, including those engaged in snooker games, female students who had come to charge their phones and other electronic devices, the cafeteria staff and manager, as well as our school security personnel.”
“Upon receiving this information, I immediately contacted our school’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) to verify if he was aware of the incident. He replied in the negative, stating that he had no knowledge but would swiftly mobilise his team to the scene.”
“After arriving with his team, the CSO realised that the armed men belonged to the Anti-Cult Squad in Enugu. It was at this point that the school CSO, despite their attempts at intimidation, managed to identify two of our school security personnel who were subsequently released.”
“The armed men subjected our students, including the female ones, to humiliation before eventually releasing the latter after confiscating their phones and power banks. They then departed with all the male students present.”
“I immediately contacted the Vice-Chancellor and the Department of State Services (DSS) officers in charge of student affairs, both in Agbani and Enugu. They expressed their unawareness of such an arrest but assured me that they were taking prompt action to secure the students’ release.”
The SUG President expressed concern about the growing fear among students regarding their safety within the university premises.
“It is distressing that armed individuals can infiltrate the school and abduct our students without the knowledge of our security operatives. The students are outraged by this development.”
While we vehemently oppose and combat criminal activities among students, we are deeply troubled by the unwarranted harassment, intimidation, and violation of our students’ fundamental rights. The necessary steps must be taken promptly and appropriately.”
“It is widely recognised that Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) is an esteemed institution that upholds social values and norms to the highest degree, unequivocally rejecting social vices. This is championed by our visionary and pragmatic Vice-Chancellor, Professor Aloysius Michaels Okolie.”