John Shiaondo, Makurdi
Two students have been confirmed dead, two policemen with another seriously wounded in a riot which erupted Wednesday at FEDEI Polytechnic Gboko, Benue state.
The UNION understands that the crisis started Tuesday when the school authorities insisted that every student must produce their permit before they would be allowed to write their second semester examinations.
A HND II student from the school, who simply identified himself as Titus, told our correspondent that though some of the students had paid their fees and had their receipts, the school authority said they must have their permit to allow them access into the examination hall a situation which made them to miss their papers.
According to him, the students, particularly those in their final year, who were angry with the situation, organised a peaceful protest to express their grievance, when thugs in the area popularly known as SHAWA came in from town, hijacked the protest and started destroying property in the school, creating more crisis leading to the killing of the two students.
He said the hoodlums, apart from razing some structures at the college, killed school cows at the ranch, destroyed a poultry chicken farm and burnt down the school bakery.
When contacted Rector of the Polytechnic, Mr Ude Abah, said he was on his way to lodge formal complaint at the Benue Police Headquarters and would not yet comment on the incident.
But the Benue state Police Command PRO Moses Yamu, when contacted confirmed that only one person, whose identity was yet to be known, was killed during the riot.
The PPRO said three persons including two policemen drafted to calm the riot were injured, while six vehicles, including one belonging to the police, were destroyed.
He said 21 persons including both hoodlums and students were arrested in connection with the crisis.
It was learnt that the state government rising from the security meeting had also directed that the school be closed indefinitely.