IMO STATE – The community of Okwu extension in Owerri West LGA, about forty kilometres to the state capital, has been thrown into chaos as students of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri and police (popularly known as “Ihiagwa” in the polytechnic students’ environment) clashed in the early hours of Friday leaving no casualties.
Speaking with an eyewitness, Francis Dubem, a student of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, he explained what he observed.
“The incidence took place by 10:30 AM on Friday when the police started harassing students, collecting and searching students’ phones as well as arresting them at will”, he said.
“The situation took a worse scenario as police arrested students who were on their way to write their final exams, which made other students come out in large numbers and attacked the police demanding the release of all their colleagues that were arrested unlawfully at the spot”, he added.
So the police, being pressured by the large crowd, started shooting guns into the air to scare the mob but the students stood firm with dangerous objects and opened the police vehicles to release their colleagues.
After the clash with the police, the students went inside the school premises and sparked up a protest with shouts of “police must leave students alone, we no go gree oh!”
Another eye witness, Smart, 25, said he was once a victim of the unlawful harassment and arrest by the police popularly called “Ihiagwa”.
He said the police often comes to arrest innocent people just to extort money from them, and when the victims pay for bail they are released.
“When Ihiagwa (police) comes they will just carry you, whether you committed any offence or not and then start asking you to pay either ten thousand or fifteen thousand for bail as the case may be.”
The rector of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Engr. (Rev.) Michael Arimanwa, when reacting to the situation addressed and calmed the protesting students and promising to do everything under his capacity to involve the government on the matter as well as bringing a lasting solution to the problem.
“Your complaints have been noted and as great students of these great citadel of learning we would join hand with the state government to do everything in our capacity to bring an end to these problems”, he promised.