20 students sustain injuries as gunshots disrupt NANS convention in Abuja
By Cyril Mbah, Abuja
Thugs allegedly stormed the Area 10 Old Parade Ground venue where members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) were to hold a national convention and disrupted the peace during the accreditation period on Thursday evening.
Violence erupted when gunshots were heard as the Convention Planning Committee (CPC) of the student’s union began accrediting delegates who came from across the country.
About 20 students sustained different degrees of injuries in the stampede that followed the gunshots but no deaths were recorded. The injured were treated at a nearby hospital.
Eyewitnesses blamed the thugs loyal to the factional coordinator of the association from (Southwest) Zone D who allegedly came into the venue with guns and machete-wielding thugs who began attacking delegates.
The student leaders met later to elect a new set of executives to pilot the affairs of the Union for the next year.
Some delegates said that the violence was triggered by protests against the outgoing president, Danielson Bamidele Akpan, who was recently suspended after he allegedly continued in office for over two years and refused to hand overpower.
Trouble was said to have started as one of the NANS coordinators from one of the zones came to the venue with armed men who allegedly engaged operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) in a shootout.
The DSS officials, who were few, withdrew and called for back-up because the armed students outnumbered them.
Normalcy later returned at about midnight and the NANS leaders returned to the venue to continue the election when more security personnel made up of soldiers, policemen and more DSS operatives were provided.
An official of the NANS Convention Planning Committee (CPC), Adamu Kabir, in a tweet, described the gun battle as normal in NANS politics. He said: “This sporadic shooting is an annual ritual that must be observed to test the rigidity or ruggedness of candidates contesting for NANS presidency.”
It was gathered that DSS operatives have arrested the National Public Relations Officer of the association, Azeez Adeyemi and other occupants of a bus with the inscription “Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY).” after guns and ammunition were found in the bus.
The convention came several months after NANS President, Danielson Akpan was impeached for allegedly diverting students’ Covid-19 palliatives.