It was a strange development in the history of
students struggle in the University of Port
Harcourt (UNIPORT) that a student will be shot
dead during a protest against management
Sadly that was the situation on Monday when a
student of the university, Peter Ofurum, was shot
dead during a protest by students against alleged
hike in fees. Students wailed as they spoke
about the late Ofurum, saying he was on his way
to hitting the First Class grade with a CGPA
above 4.5. One of the students, who identified
himself as Chris, alleged that a policeman
opened fire at Ofurum.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that, as early as 6am,
students of the UNIPORT mobilised to the East
West Road, chanting solidarity songs and
denouncing the hike in their fees by the
management of the school.
It is still not clear who fired the shot that hit
Ofurum but students believed it was the police
deployed to disperse the protesting students.
Tempers flared after the killing. It is also not
clear who destroyed some valuables in the
university before the students were forced to
vacate their hostels in the three campuses of
The police have denied firing life bullets during
the protest. Public Relations Officer of the Rivers
State Police Command, DSP Ahmad Muhammad,
said the police used minimal force to disperse
the students, a position corroborated by the
acting Commissioner of Police in the state,
Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of
Administration, Mobolaji Odesanya, when he
visited the school after the protest.
Vice Chancellor under attack
Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor
Ndowa Lale, has come under attack over the
murder. Some people said his alleged arrogance
made him dismiss appeals from several quarters
to shelve the hike in fees paid by the students.
An activist in Rivers State and Coordinator,
Integrity Group, Mr Livingston Wechie, said he
made several entreaties to the university to
maintain the statusquo for peace to reign but
they fell on deaf ears. Lale further incurred the
wrath of many when he alleged that the protest
was sponsored to remove him from office.
Livingston, who addressed a press conference in
Port Harcourt, alongside the leadership of the
National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS,
said it was a shame that the Vice Chancellor
could say such, stressing that it showed his
insensitivity to the plight of the students that
resulted in the protest. At press time, the appeal
was that the Federal Government should do
everything possible to unmask the killer of
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