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KNUST Closed Down Indefinitely; Students Asked To Vacate By Noon Tuesday

Peacefmonline.com can confirm that students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology [KNUST] have been asked to vacate the school premises by midday on Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

By Isaac Kwame Owusu

This follows an order by the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to the University to close down indefinitely in the wake of the unrest.

A 12-hour curfew on the campus from 6:00pm to 6:00am has been imposed which takes effect today, Monday.

The decision, which was announced by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, excludes foreign students who will be given full security protection and a reserved hall until they are able to leave to their respective countries.

The decision was taken in consultation with the management of the school.

Too late?

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Ministry of Education, led by the Minister, Hon Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh will be at KNUST campus to meet the university authorities and the students on Tuesday at 10 am.

Vincent Ekow Assafuah, Director of Communications at the Ministry, said in a statement released on Monday afternoon, that the ministry notes with concern, developments on the KNUST campus with regard to bodily injuries and detention of some students, as well as the destruction of public properties.

The statement however appealed for calm on all sides as a first step to resolving the fracas.

Background

A protest by the students against the school’s authorities over what they describe as an unfair treatment meted out to them turned violent on Monday.

The School’s security on Friday [October 19, 2018] pounced on unarmed students who were having a peaceful vigil at the forecourt of the hall in protest of management’s freeze on “morale”, a usual Friday night jamboree in all the halls at the school.

Barely a week ago, the University in a communique signed and posted both the Continental Hall and University Hall Management, asked the student body to cease their usual ‘Friday Night Morale’ as the school has suspended the activity.

The notice read “Notice is hereby given that all forms of “morales” in and around the University Hall are suspended with immediate effect. This decision was taken in view of several negative issues encountered recently with respect to morales in the hall. Any person who flouts this directive shall receive the necessary sanction and response”.

A group of security men who were said to be acting based on orders from the authorities, allegedly manhandled students who reportedly flouted the rules and held a mini vigil and in the process one student sustained severe head injuries, bleeding profusely.

The injured student was immediately admitted to the KNUST Hospital for treatment on Friday evening.

KNUST authorities justify students’ arrest

KNUST Management further justified the arrest of some students of the University saying the students did not seek permission before undertaking the activity contrary to the rules of the university.

The university thinks certain activities in the night should not be entertained. Some other activities are permitted because the students applied for permission. But there was no permission for last Friday’s activity. The students decided to go their own way. They decided not to obey any rules or regulations on campus; and the law doesn’t permit that. So when it happened, the police were brought in,” the University’s Public Relations Officer, Kwame Yeboah told the media.

Reaction Extreme?

On the morning of Monday, Ocotober 22, 2018, students of the University embarked on a violent demonstration against the University authorities.

The Students' Representative Council (SRC) of the KNUSTSRC Executive Council in a statement titled: ACTION NOW, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, implored students to abandon the lecture halls today (Monday, October 22, 2018) for the demonstration against police brutality of students, and in solidarity with their 11 arrested colleagues of the University Hall (Katanga Hall) during the "illegal" Friday Night Morale which included drumming during a hall week celebration. 

The students thronged the streets on campus in their numbers, clad in red and amidst the protest vandalized several properties including the office and car of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso.

The students are also protesting against a decision by the Vice Chancellor and the authorities to turn the all-male Katanga Hall into a mixed hall with females.

The campus of KNUST has been relatively rowdy following the conversion of some all-male halls into mixed ones.

There were disturbing scenes on campus as the students destroyed and burned down some properties, ranging from cars to motorbikes.

Calm Restored

The operation ‘Calm Life’ unit of the Police Service was sent in amid the unrest. Later, the military was also deployed after tensions increased to calm the situation. 

In a related development, the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) has begun an assessment of the level of destruction caused by the students.
 More pictures from the scene:

Source: http://www.peacefmonline.com/pages/local/education/201810/365956.php

 

joewalash Posted on October 23, 2018 17:16

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