Ikpeazu condemns police shooting of protesting students over alleged rape of 3 by RRS
Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, has condemned in strongest terms, the Thursday shooting by some police officers at the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba during a protest by students of the institution.
The students were protesting, among other things, an alleged rape by Personnel of Rapid Response Squad, a female Student of Accounting, who pleaded anonymity, informed that three students living at an undisclosed lodge around Aba North, were badly raped and taken to hospital, revealing that this had been happening unchecked.
In a press release by Onyebuchi Ememanka, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ikpeazu noted “the act of the Police Officers was excessive, uncalled for and could aggravate an already tensed situation which could lead to collateral damages.”
“Shooting at unarmed students who were protesting the alleged sexual assault of one of them by a police officer is against all known and recognized rules of engagement by law enforcement officers who could have employed other means other than deadly force to disperse the protesting students,” Ikpeazu lamented.
While noting that the Abia State Government was already looking into the issues that led to Thursday’s protest, which created a huge traffic jam along Aba Owerri Road, the governor insisted that the use of deadly force by the Police was completely unacceptable to the state government and outrightly condemnable.
Governor Ikpeazu urged the State Police Commissioner and the Area Commander in charge of Aba to ensure that the officers who were involved in the shooting were identified and disciplined in line with extant Police Regulations, while further ensuring that such display of disproportionate force doesn’t happen again.
The Students in their numbers who were due to commence their semester examination on Thursday, halted vehicular movement for hours, even as they also protested what they called the failure of the school management to accredit the entire Engineering Department and non-payment of the salaries of their lecturers among other issues.
A Student of Civil Engineering who spoke to the media informed that the protest was necessitated by the failure of the school management to accredit the entire Engineering Department.
He added that it is regrettable that after their finals, they were issued a result bearing that of the Department of Building, calling on Abia State Government, School Management to expedite action so as to enable them to graduate with results bearing Civil Engineering.
Addressing the students in the company of armed military personnel, the Rector of the Polytechnic, Professor Kalu Osonwa, said he received messages that men of the Rapid Response Squad were assaulting the students.
He assured that as a father and as the Rector of the Institution, he would ensure that no student was sexually harassed no matter the individual involved, just as he assured that the school management would look into the issues raised including accreditation of the Engineering Department among others.
All efforts to contact the Police Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Ogbonna proved abortive.
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