A group of gun-wielding students and hired thugs today invaded Yaba College of Technology in Lagos State, turning the election of new student union leaders into mayhem and chaos. Several sources at the college told SaharaReporters that the armed thugs disrupted the vote counting. There was an unconfirmed report that one person died.
Student witnesses told our correspondent that all votes had been cast before the thugs descended. “While counting was ongoing, sporadic gunshots suddenly changed the atmosphere,” one student source said. Our sources said the gunshots created chaos within seconds as students abandoned the collation center and ran for safety.
The sources said some lecturers and administrators were present at the scene as monitors of the counting process. They said the lecturers and officers fled the moment they heard the thunderous sounds of gunshots.
One of the students said one unidentified person had died at the scene, but our correspondent could not reach the police or college administrator to confirm the report. Our source added that several students sustained injuries as they tried to flee from the scene.
Another source stated that police officers at the nearby Sabo police station were drafted to the college, but added that the vote counting could not continue. “The violence means that the votes cannot be counted anymore. The election process has to be done again because it is now inconclusive,” he said.
“The attackers must have been cultists,” one of the candidates in the elections told our correspondent. “Nobody else would be in possession of guns and know where exactly to strike on the campus,” he said.
Yaba College of Technology, which is Nigeria’s premier institution of higher learning, has been plagued by violent clashes between rival criminal cults. In recent years, the college has fought a losing battle to save its image.
In the past, some students at the college had alleged that the rector and other officers of the college had a hand in sponsoring cult groups for use in acts of political thuggery. The accusers said the rival gangs sometimes clashed usually to establish superiority.