…and destroyed N50m property
Properties worth N50 million were damaged during the face-off between students of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State and the school management on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. The students were protesting against power outage and lack of water supply in one of the new hostels in the school and increase in tuition fees.
No fewer than 20 vehicles were damaged by the students as they razed down buildings, smashed cars and caused mayhem all over the university campus.
Insiders squealed, “On the morning, prior to the outrage, students had to go in search of water. Many students got back to the hostel with empty buckets, those that found water protected it. The absence of light added pepper to our injuries as students wondered whether the expensive school fees did not cover electricity supply. Some students were even found using torches to read in the library and this made me ask myself what century we were actually in.
“The outrage started in John Hall where some gadgets including an iPad, a Blackberry z10 and some laptops got spoilt at around 7:30pm by the fluctuating power supply. This pushed the students of John Hall over the edge as they started throwing louvre blades, destroying dustbins, breaking doors, attacking the porters, among other things. Just as we thought it was about to end, the other halls, Luke followed by Mark and Matthew, became possessed with violence.
“The outrage continued as the angry students attacked security guards, set their motorcycles on fire, vandalized the school properties smashing windows and unleashing terror. The peak of it all was when the angry boys decided to proceed towards the main campus. With the way they dressed, they could have been mistaken for militants as they tied black bands on their heads and were bare-chested with clubs. They ran steadily toward the main campus where the main female hostels are and at that point, the few sane students that watched the drama unfold began to pray.
“As we expected, they entered the female hostels and damaged louvres, among other things. Some female students also joined in the protest. Laosebikan Hall and the Administration block were also damaged. A bonfire was started right in front of the female complex. Some of the students attacked one of the school’s chaplains, punctured his car tyres and smashed his car windscreen. A girl that tried to take pictures was given a few slaps. Students walked the streets, smoking cigarettes without fear.
Students were seen running helter skelter as policemen drove started shooting into the air. Some took refuge in the dirty gutters, some ran into the female hostels, while others found their way into the bush around the school.
We also learnt that the students, protested against the new schedule which stipulated that all students must leave their hostels by 8am whether they have lectures or not and should not return until 4pm.
“This issue had been on for some time now. In fact, it started during the tenure of the last VC. At times they’ll supply light for just few hours, especially in the morning. We pay over N400,000 as school fees, yet we don’t enjoy the basic amenities a private university should have.”
Consequently, the school was shut down till April 1, 2014. The Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Gboyega Aderoju, confirmed the development, adding that although the situation had been brought under control, the school had been shut down till April 1, 2014.
The major foundation of what has become Bowen University today was laid in 1854. That year, the family of the late Rev. Thomas Jefferson Bowen started a school in Ijaiye, Orile in the present Oyo State. The school, comprising five stewards of the late Bowen, five other labourers, and a few others drawn to the fledgling school by sheer curiosity, has grown into thousands of Baptist Primary and Secondary schools scattered across the country today. By 1960, there was a Baptist school almost everywhere that had a Baptist congregation.
The idea of establishing a Baptist university in Nigeria was first conceived in 1938. This was borne out of the Baptist commitment to assist the people to develop their potentials to the fullest. The first bold step towards actualizing this vision was not taken until 1956 when a proposal was presented to the meeting of the Executive Committees of the Baptist Mission of Nigeria and the Nigerian Baptist Convention endorsed the idea. Since then, the Nigerian Baptist Convention has worked tirelessly, committing time, material and human resources to actualizing the vision.
Today, all these efforts are crystallized into the establishment of Bowen University, a significant landmark in the academic heritage of the Nigerian Baptist Convention.
The University obtained a final Government approval in 2001, but commenced academic activities on November 4, 2002 through its first students intake of about 500.
– FEMI OYEWALE