At least 105 suspects have been arrested by the Edo State Police Command in connection with Thursday’s disturbances at the main campus of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State.
The suspects who are reported to have confessed that they are members of the Aye Cult group also claimed they were recruited from the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, Delta State University, Abraka and the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, and that their mission was to burn down the Bursary and Academic departments of the institution.
It is not yet clear to what purpose the cultists were hired, but it had been initially thought that the disturbances were triggered by students protesting the school management’s directive that students who had not paid their tuition should not be allowed to take the semester examinations.
There were also insinuations that the disorder may have to do with crisis of succession of a substantive Rector at the institution.
Although no life was lost in the disturbance, several vehicles belonging to staff and the institution were burnt by the invaders.
Sources said that it took the intervention of men of the Nigerian army to stop the rioters who were already scooping petrol from motorbikes packed within the campus to set their targets on fire.
Meanwhile, Engineer Braimah, Acing Rector of the institution; the school’s registrar and the bursar who were said to be away in Abuja to answer a summon by the fact finding committee that visited the institution recently, have returned to Auchi and joined Mr. Samuel Adegbuyi, the Edo State Commissioner of Police to assess the extent of damage to the institution.
The school meanwhile remained open and staffers have unhindered access to their offices, although students are not around.
Mr Mahmmud Garuba, Dean, School of Evening Studies said that the disturbances could not had been the result of the “no school fees, no exam policy” as the management had announced the decision long ago.
“Those that were denied access into the examination hall were not students; as they have not registered since they claimed to have gained admission into the polytechnic.
“Enough sensitisation was done on the “no school fees, no examination” policy by the management and for them to go on riot and destroy properties of the institution, it is unacceptable,” he said.
Mr Mustapha Oshiobugie, Public Relations Officer of the polytechnic, also said that those prevented from writing the examination were not registered students of the institution.
“The management is sitting now and at the end of their meeting they would come up with their decision,” he said.