Police arrest, disperse UNILAG students protesting tuition hike
Palpable tension, yesterday, enveloped the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and environs as police, in their numbers, took over the school and cordoned off the area, preventing human and vehicular traffic.
The heavy police presence prevented both students protesting hike in tuition fees and other visitors from accessing the campus.
Over 20 police vehicles, university security personnel, and members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) converged at the university gate, barring entry to anyone, including prospective students seeking admission screening.
This development followed the earlier dispersal of protesting students from the Sabo area of Yaba, during which the police fired tear gas canisters to disperse the gathering.
Despite the initial dispersal, the students later regrouped and attempted to approach the campus main gate.
However, they were met with a formidable police presence, with officers cordoning off the area.
One of the student leaders, Oladeji Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of his aggrieved colleagues, accused the police team of using force against them by firing teargas canisters.
Already, he said two of his colleagues, identified as Femi Adeyeye and Philip Olatinwo, have been arrested.
Ibrahim vowed that they would continue to lay siege to the campus until their arrested colleagues were released.
He also insisted on the review of tuition fees, saying they cannot afford the new fees introduced by the university.
The students had converged as early as 8.00 a.m. in the Sabo area of Yaba, carrying placards with different inscriptions and chanting solidarity songs, all against the tuition hike.
The university management had earlier warned the students against embarking on any protest, to avoid a breach of peace on campus.
Responding, UNILAG Media Communications Manager, Ajoke Ibraheem, said: “Police did not fire tear gas at them within the school premises but outside the school.
“It is within the right of the students to protest legitimately as long as the protest did not get hijacked by miscreants. As at the time they were tear-gassed, the crowd was getting rowdy and I think that is why the police authorities decided to use tear gas.
“The students later came back for their peaceful protest without anyone stopping them.”
Meanwhile, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Benjamin Hundeyin, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to him.
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