Students of the University of Benin clashed with some soldiers at the school premises on Thursday over cash withdrawal at one of the bank’s Automated Teller Machines.
Trouble was said to have started as attempts to jump the queue by the soldiers was met with stiff resistance by the students who had waited patiently on the queue for their turn.
According to a source, the students were said to be angry with the soldiers from the S&T Barracks who had done the same on Wednesday in an oppressive manner.
The source stated, “On Wednesday they came here and harassed the students. They even asked the students who challenged them to lie on the ground. But today (Thursday) when they came again and wanted to do the same thing, the student resisted.”
While arguments ensued between the students and the military men, the Chief Security Officer of the institution who intervened was said to have been assaulted by the soldiers.
The development got the students aggrieved and blocked vehicular movement on routes to and fro the school which resulted in a gridlock.
It took the intervention of some spirited Nigerians and the Divisional Police Officer Ugbowo Division to appease the irate students to allow vehicular movements around the axis.
When contacted, the state Deputy Police spokesperson, ASP Jennifer Iwegbu, said peace had returned to the area after several appeals to the students, who demanded that a smashed phone of one of their colleagues be repaired.
In a statement signed by the Vice Chancellor of the School, Prof. Lilian Salami on Friday, she described the incident as unfortunate and called for calm.
The statement reads, “The unfortunate incident of the clash between some students of our university and soldiers on Thursday 2nd February, resulting from alleged resistance of students to the soldiers’ attempt to jump ATM queue on campus has been brought under control and the management of the University is in discussions with the hierarchy of the S&T for amicable resolution.
“The management acknowledges that these are challenging times for everyone and enjoins all to remain calm while efforts are being made to avert a re-occurrence.
“Management also calls on the students to constantly engage dialogue in resolving issues that concern them rather than taking to protests, at any provocation, thereby causing more injury and damage to themselves and other citizens,” the statement added.