Eight hundred and twelve Benue indigent students studying in the Federal University, Wukari (FUW), Taraba State were on Wednesday evacuated by the Benue State Government following uprising in the institution in which two Tiv students and a Tiv non-academic staff were allegedly killed by Jukun militia who stormed the school.
Benue State Commissioner for Education, Professor Dennis Ityavyar who disclosed this to newsmen at a news conference in Makurdi, said the state government had to dispatch 15 vehicles to evacuate Benue students from the crisis area after management of the institution closed down the school.
Ityavyar noted that the arrangement became necessary following the directive by the university authority, that all students should vacate the school’s premises at 12noon on Wednesday and the subsequent closure of the university after the alleged killing of two Benue students in the institution.
Although, Governor Samuel Ortom is currently out of the country to attend the Tiv and Idoma days in the United States of America (USA), Prof. Ityavyar disclosed that the acting governor, Engr. Benson Abounu had made funds available for the evacuation of the students.
He revealed that 15 buses, including four Macopolos which were expected to convey 60 people each and 11 other buses were provided by the state government to bring back the students.
He said the buses were accompanied on the trip by troops of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) to evacuate the students to various designated points in the state.
The commissioner stated further that government also made monetary incentives available to be given to the students once they arrived in the state to aid their movement back to their various homes from the various dropping points.
He listed the designated points to include Ugbema in Buruku local government area, Gboko and Makurdi, maintaining that students whose parents and residences are located around those points may wish to drop in the areas while transport money would still be given to them so that they don’t necessarily have to disembark in Makurdi.
Asked about the alleged killing of some Benue indigent students in Taraba, the commissioner described it as mere rumour saying he was only informed that two of them were missing.
Ityavyar explained that he was earlier informed about the current development by the caretaker committee chairman for Ukum local government council, Tor-Tyokyaa Ibellogo whom he said had earlier sent six vehicles to Wukari to evacuate the Benue State from FUW.
He revealed that the Benue State government had already notified relevant security agencies and the government of Taraba about the evacuation.
“The Government of Benue State has contacted the Government of Taraba State, police commissioner, the army and other security formations in Taraba State to ensure the safety of Benue State indigenes in Taraba State and l’m appealing to Taraba indigenes studying in Benue State to remain calm, not to panic as their safety is guaranteed”.
“This crisis between these two ethnic groups is indeed a sorry situation. It poses a big challenge on safety and security of lives of students. Note that it is not an internal crisis but external aggression against the students. Hence, it is paramount that educational institutions make security sacred.
He posited further that in spite of the crisis, the governments of the two states were committed to ensuring peace at the borders for the safety of their citizens as they had continued to hold a series of meetings over the years to find a lasting solution to the crisis.