Students of tertiary institutions under the auspices of the National Association of Nsit Atai Students, Akwa Ibom State, were allegedly maimed, tortured and held hostage by armed hoodlums for hours, for protesting the non-payment of bursary and other student grants. The students led by their Worldwide President, Comrade Inyang Effiong, had reportedly converged at the council secretariat on Monday, displaying placards and singing student unionism songs. According to reports, a lad addressed as Ukpak, confronted the students, querying their mission, and why they locked a door at the secretariat. One of the students who declined to be named said that efforts by them to explain their mission fell on deaf ears as the said Ukpak made frantic calls and later said, “I go show una ‘ruggedity’ today”, before speeding off in a motorcycle. The student disclosed that barely fifteen minutes later, armed hoodlums numbering over 20 invaded the council secretariat, shooting indiscriminately and beating most of the students to pulp. He said that some students and journalists were lucky to escape, adding that the hoodlums had blocked Odot junction, catching some of the fleeing students in the process.
“Some of the escaping students and journalists were pursued with motorcycles from the council secretariat down to Airport Junction before the hoodlums gave up the chase,” he said. Information has it that a blogger, Unyime Essien, lost his recording device while a journalist, Ubong Matthew, lost his wallet containing 12 Thousand Naira. Another student said that at the council secretariat, it was brutal as the students were allegedly locked up and thoroughly beaten. The students reportedly had their mobile phones, cash, shoes, bags, wristwatches and other valuables seized. Female students were also reportedly abused. The hoodlums are said to be members of a youth political support group, ONE FOR ALL. The council boss, Hon. Emem Ibanga is said to be the group’s matron. At the Nsit Atai Divisional Police Station where some of the students were detained for about six hours, the council chairman was defiant as she accused the students of being sponsored to protest. “Tell anybody that sponsored you that nobody can remove me as chairman,” she said. Also at the police station, Paramount Ruler of Nsit Atai, Edidem Peter Okon Effiong, blamed the students, saying they should have obtained his permission before holding the protest. Worldwide President of the students, Comrade Inyang Effiong was later forced to apologize to the council chairman at the police station. The students were released from the police cells around 5:00 pm on Monday. The students have earlier told newsmen that the Council Chairman, Police and Paramount Ruler were duly notified of the protest through a letter….