No fewer than two staff of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan were hospitalised on Monday after some overzealous men of the Oyo State Police Command clashed with students of the Federal College of Agriculture, Moore Plantation, Apata Ibadan.
DAILY POST gathered that trouble started some minutes before 8 am on Monday when students of Federal College of Agriculture, who shares the same premises with IART&T and Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology were protesting within the premises against the leadership of the Provost of the institution, Dr. Babajide Adelekan.
The students noted that they were tired of protracted strikes by workers of the institution and various crisis that had been rocking Adelekan’s administration.
A commercial motorcyclist who plies the popular Mokola-Dugbe-Apata Road while speaking with DAILY POST on condition of anonymity disclosed that students of the institution were protesting peacefully and blocked the Apata-Dugbe Road when the police came to disperse them.
He noted that the melee started when the policemen arrived and started chasing the protesters.
He added that the students resisted the police invasion, which made the police to re-enforce and chase students, staff of the three institutions and other people on sight.
It was gathered that two staff of IAR&T, including Mrs Helen Adekanmi and another male staff who were sht during the francas have been hospitalised and are currently receiving treatments at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
An industrial training (IT) student, a male staff Mr. Lanre Johnson and ten other staff whose names were still being collated as at the time of filling this report sustained various degrees of injuries on their heads, legs, toes and arms.
Five cars belonging to staff of IAR&T were also seen by our correspondent damaged during the melee that lasted for over two hours.
DAILY POST correspondent who arrived the premises where the three institutions are situated at 11. 30 am saw various injurious items such as broken bottles, stones and sticks which the two parties used against each other. The items were seen littering the road and the premises.
Mobile policemen from various police stations such as Dugbe, Apata, Oluyole were sighted by DAILY POST, stationed with their patrol vehicles controlling vehicular and human movements.
A source who confided in our correspondent noted that the crisis in the college had been on for over two years which has made the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to wade into the crisis.
He said, “It has developed to this level. The only thing that I know is that I was told that the students were tired of staying at home. And they are tired of coming to the college doing nothing. Therefore, they have to stage protest”.
The Executive Director of IAR&T, Professor James Adediran who quickly cut off his journey to Abuja described the incident as unfortunate.
Adediran while speaking with DAILY POST condemned the ugly incident which seriously affected activities in the institution, staff and other members of the institute.
He noted that it was unfortunate that policemen could not differentiate between staff of the institute and students and staff of the College of Agriculture who were protesting.
Adediran noted that his staff were about to resume for work when the policemen came to invade the premises without sparing anyone.
He said that he had to quickly return from his journey to Abuja when staff of the institution called him about the situation on ground.
Adediran said “This morning, our staff came to their places of work and unfortunately the gates were locked, they had to look for ways to enter into the premises, and unfortunately we leant that students were on rampage shouting and demonstrating on the main road, so it was difficult to enter.
“And personally, I was not around, I was on my way to Abuja and I had to return back after Ilesa, I was already traveling, I had to return on my way.
“When I came back, I was told that the police entered the premises and started shooting and to be sincere I want to say that two of our staff were shot, they were attacked.
“What really happened is that there were stray bullets, the two of them, one on the head and the other one in the abdomen. The two of them are still in the hospital. They were rushed to the hospital, they are now receiving treatments.
“I was told that they are recovering; I will visit the hospital to know the state of their health status.
“This is IAR&T, there are three institutions in this premises, Federal College of Agriculture, Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology and the IAR&T.
“As I told you, two of our staff are in the hospital, one was hit on the leg and the other in the abdomen. Some were injured on the heads and the hands”.
However, all efforts by DAILY POST to get reaction of the spokesperson of the state Police Command, Adekunle Ajisebutu proved abortive.
Calls put through his mobile phone were not answered when our correspondent called him.