The Bayelsa State Police Command has arrested the chairman of the Bayelsa State chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and seven other university students in connection with the alleged murder of a student, cultism, and armed robbery.
The NANS leader in Bayelsa State, Perewari Benjamin, a 400-level student of the Niger Delta University, Amassoma, was paraded along with the seven other suspects at the state command’s headquarters in Yenagoa on Monday.
The police identified the other suspects as Asari Enagob, Suoguai Bina, Ibe Ogbonna, Igbanibo Tari, Ekperi Kenneth, Kemefie Ebimene, and Chukwuma Lawrence.
With the exception of Mr. Lawrence, an Imo State Polytechnic student, the suspects are undergraduates of the Bayelsa State government-owned Niger Delta University.
Addressing journalists at the police command, Commissioner Asuquo Amba said that three drivers - Ayo Kehinde, Jamiu Salahudeen, and Nwanya Chinonso - reported the suspects to the police for hijacking their vehicles and robbing them at gunpoint.
He said the suspects robbed Mr. Kehinde of one Techno phone valued at N10,000 and the sum of N50,000 cash while they also robbed Mr. Chinonso of N1,600 cash.
Mr. Amba said the police recovered arms and ammunition from the students, including two locally-made single-barrel pistols, two rounds of live ammunition, five .9mm live ammunition and some charms.
The police commissioner traced the death of an unnamed student of the Federal University, Otuoke, to student union elections at the Federal University, Otuoke, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
“It is disheartening to note that the events that occurred at the Zone B election for coordinators of NANS took place at the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, between November 25 and November 26. It was a situation whereby students representing universities and higher institutions in the South-South zone degenerated to the use of firearms that led to the death of a student,” Mr. Amba said.
“The students also involved themselves in robbery against innocent citizens,” he added.
“This leaves one to wonder about the future of our great nation. The development calls for a drastic action to curb this menace and a complete reorientation of our youths.”
Mr. Amba recalled that when NANS zonal meeting was zoned to Bayelsa State, the police authorities took all necessary measures in consultation with university authorities, saying they were able to fashion what he described as watertight security measures.
He said the police also collaborated with officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Department of the State Services and the military.
"We equally got an assurance from both the student union leaders and the Vice Chancellor that everything was going normally and that there was no security threat. In line with this, everything was going very smoothly.
"We ensured that vehicles coming in and going out of Bayelsa, especially buses conveying students, were adequately searched, because we anticipated that some students might foment and cause trouble.
“It was unfortunate that in the course of this, after the election had been concluded successfully, winners and losers known, some miscreants, in the name of students, took laws into their hands.
"Some of them were involved in heinous acts such as armed robbery, cult activities, unlawful possession of weapons. Following that, we made these arrests,” Mr. Amba said.