KNUST Riot: Authorities Turned Blind Eye To Issues – Education Committee

Vice Chairman of Parliament’s select committee on Education, Johnson Adu has chided school authorities of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) for “turning a blind eye” to issues that led to the students riot.

On Monday, there was violence on campus as students demonstrated against the arrest of their colleagues for organizing vigils against the Vice Chancellor’s directive to merge male and female halls on campus.

But speaking on “Ete Sen” on Tuesday, October 23, Mr. Adu who is also the MP for Ahafo Anoh South expressed his disappointment in the school authority for failing to alert the Education Ministry when the issue started. “Authorities turned a blind eye to the issue……..even though the university is autonomous, the Vice Chancellor could have alerted the Education Minister to intervene to forestall any such riot” he said.

He was of the view that, the decision to merge male and female halls demanded time to deliberate with all concerned sides to reach a consensus before it’s implementation, a situation he observed the school authorities failed to do. He asserts “People don’t want change even though change is a good thing but when you are bringing change you need to take time to explain issues to all factions.”

Mr Adu observed that the Minister for Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh will meet with the school authorities today as he is expected to visit the school today to find an amicable solution to the impasse.

Rampage

The vandalism stemmed from a misunderstanding between the students and the school authorities that has been lingering ever since some all-male halls were converted into mixed ones.

The demonstration was also intended to kick against the ‘tyrannical’ style of the university administration and also express concern over the use of force by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kwasi Obiri-Danso, to cow the students into submission following some new directives to ban a usual singing and drumming sessions otherwise known as ‘morale’.

Before the demonstration, 11 students of the University Hall (Katanga) who had participated in the hall’s ‘morale’ on Friday had allegedly been brutalised and arrested by the university’s security men who later handed them to the KNUST Police Station, where they were detained.

The Executive Council of the Students Representative Council (SRC) then issued a notice to all students to boycott lectures on Monday and embark on a demonstration following the posture of the university’s authority.

A portion of the notice read: “enough is enough”.

However, on Monday, the supposed peaceful protest turned violent when the infuriated  students, Clad in red and black attire and armbands, went berserk and started vandalising properties running into millions.

Lecturers and other staff of the university had to run for their lives when they realized the crowd was uncontrollable.

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It is believed that the conversion which has brought about some changes in the usual ‘morale’ chanting in the school contributed to the vandalism.

Shut Down

Authorities of KNUST eventually had to shut down the university indefinitely, following the student rampageM.

The Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC), which took the decision at an emergency meeting with the university authorities, also imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the university campus with immediate effect.

Over 20 students were later arrested after the nasty demonstration.

XYZ News’ Ashanti Regional correspondent, Jonathan Ofori reported on Monday that the aggrieved students want the Vice Chancellor of the school, Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso to vacate his post following the hall conversion.

The Education Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh is expected to lead a government delegation to the campus to discuss how best the matter can be resolved.

 

Story by: Henryson Okrah and Charles Akrofi/myxyzonline.com