29th March, 2012
Ten persons have been arrested in connection with the mayhem that occurred at Benue State University Wednesday after a Dangote truck killed a man near the university.
This was disclosed to P.M.NEWS by ASP Ejike Alaribe, the Police Public Relations Officer, who added that the police are still working on information provided by the arrested hoodlums, so as to arrest others who were involved in the dastardly act which led to burning down of Board of Internal Revenue Service.
Trouble started when the students went on the rampage following the death of two of their colleagues allegedly shot by a police officer.
The students, Unogwu James, a 400 level student of Physics Department and Ayodele Emmanuel, a 100 level Biological Science student were allegedly shot by a police officer in the process of quelling a riot.
The riot, P.M.NEWS gathered, was caused by the death of a 55-year old retired Benue civil servant knocked down by a speeding Dangote truck.
The man was killed in front of the second campus axis of the university.
Initially, the identity of the man raised a lot of confusion. while some claimed that he was a final year Accounting student of the university, the university authority through its spokesman Mr.Tse Vanger denied aptly that he was not.
The incident however, caught the ire of the students who demanded for the driver who had taken refuge at a police station.
The enraged students went hay wire, blocked the federal highway from the Wurukum round with bonfires. Traffic was disrupted for over 5 hours even as people scampered for safety.
“It was like war scene. People fell as they ran for safety. The police shot tear gas and the whole area was engulfed in smoke,”, Mrs. Priscilla who owns a shop around the area told our reporter.
The irate students destroyed government as well as private facilities. Cars were burnt, street lights were destroyed and lots of shops looted.
The destruction and vandalization of the multi-million naira Benue State Internal Revenue Services complex, BIRS, was the worst aspect of the destruction. The board moved to the new complex only last year from the state government secretariat it hasd occupied.
The extent of damage done was massive as the entire complex was set ablaze and all the offices looted. Items removed or destroyed include computers, furniture, cement, an 18-seater bus and a Toyota Hilux van were also smashed.
Deputy Governor of Benue State, Chief Lawani who visited the place to ascertain the level of destruction, expressed great shock at the magnitude of damage done, describing it as a ‘planned and calculated’ attack.
He urged staff of the board not to be deterred by the act, assuring them that government will liaise with its Chairman, Mr. Andrew Ayabam, to ensure that work goes on at the Internal Revenue board.
While expressing satisfaction with the action so far taken by the security agencies, he urged the police not to rest on its oars by ensuring that perpetrators of the heinous act are prosecuted.
Executive Chairman of BIRS, Mr. Andrew Ayabam maintained that the board would not be deterred by the nefarious act.
The Benue Internal Revenue Board is the highest employer of labour in the state, engaging over 2000 graduates, mostly from Benue State University .
In a similar vein, the new Commissioner of Police, Mr. Christopher Katso described the act as ‘dastardly’ and wicked, explaining that the timely intervention of his men saved the situation from degenerating into a full blown crisis in the town.
The police boss said his command will leave nothing to chance in trailing the armed hoodlums who shot and killed one student and injured another one.
By Ubong George/Markurdi