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13 hospitalised following students’ bloody clash at FGGC Abuloma

13 hospitalised following students’ bloody clash at FGGC Abuloma 1
13
students are now hospitalized and academic activities disrupted
following clashes between rival students’ groups at the Federal
Government Girls College Abuloma, Port Harcourt, Rivers State


The clash, which has been described as one of the worst cases of college violence in recent years, broke out in the early of Tuesday June 19th. It was a clash of supremacy between SS2 and SS3 rival students groups. Continue to read the full story…

Written by David Oreofero for The Nation

Parents,
educationists and other residents of Rivers State were jolted on
Tuesday when irate students of the Federal Government Girls College,
Abuloma, Port Harcourt, turned against each other and staff, including a
principal, in one of the worst cases of college violence in recent
years.

When
the dust settled that fateful Tuesday, over a dozen students and the
Vice Principal were nursing injuries inflicted on them by other
students. A senior academic staff of the institution described the
incident as “one of the worst in secondary school violence in this part
of the country. It was indeed a sad day for education.”
Nation
Evening Express investigations revealed that the crisis had been
brewing for several months, before Tuesday’s clash. A member of staff,
who volunteered information on condition that her identity would be
protected, gave a graphic insight into the bloody clash, which shook
the school and the host community, Amadi-Ama.
According
to our source, students in the school, especially the finalist (SS3)
had been exhibiting unruly behaviours, which the school authority
barely condoned because “it was better to manage them as their days as
students of FGGC are numbered. We said they would soon pass out, before
trouble broke out in the early hours of Tuesday.”
It
was gathered that as the final days of the students drew nearer, they
became more unruly and disrespectful of constituted authorities, with
some of them breaking school rules; going out at unusual hours to
parties outside the school. Some of them even brought their boyfriends
into the dormitory to sleep with them overnight.”
The
source continued: “Usually, when retiring to bed every night, the
dormitories are locked for security reasons but these unruly SS3
students have been preventing the guards from locking their dormitory.
When the guards approach, the girls in their numbers would strip to
their last garment and dare the guards to come further. To avoid
getting into trouble or any allegation of attempting to rape the
students, the guards would beat hasty retreat and let the students have
their way. This had been going on for months now.”
Independent
findings by our reporter indicated that the student are averse to the
locking of the dormitory gates because it prevents some of their
colleagues from going out on night rendezvous with their boyfriends or
prevent the very daring ones from bringing in their consorts.
Trouble
started Sunday night when an SS1 student, who was beaten up (punished)
by SS2 students for alleged disobedience, reported her ordeal to an
SS3 elder sister. While the SS3s were mobilizing to deal with the
situation, the SS2s moved first to draw the battleline with the angry
SS3s. It was gathered that the former invaded the dormitories of the
students, urging them to “do their worst”. But the security staff
quickly moved in and settled the rift before it degenerated that night.
Yet,
it was learnt that the terms of the settlement did not go down well
with the final year students. One of the alleged key players, who was
later expelled, told our reporter that the SS3 students felt slighted 
that
their juniors could stand up to them in the manner they did. “It has
never happened in the history of this school. We (final year students)
felt we couldn’t take it without teaching them (SS2 students) some
bitter lesson.”
The
zero hour to teach the bitter lesson came on  Monday night when all
dormitories were being locked; the SS3 students, as usual,  reportedly
stripped and stood menacingly at the gate, to prevent their dormitory
being locked. Having scaled that hurdle, they went about amassing
weapons. Hoes used for Agric science practicals, bottles of soft
drinks, peanuts and others brought by caring families, razor, cutleries
and others came in handy in the final hours of preparing. Insecticides
became lethal weapons when sprayed into naked fire from hidden matches
and lighters, which the smokers among the students tucked away.
At
the unholy hour of about 1.00am on Tuesday, they were fully charged and
battle-ready. Armed with their weapons, they invaded the SS2
dormitory. The hoe came in handy for breaking the locks. Apparently
aware of what was happening, the SS2 students reportedly made telephone
calls to cult members from other schools. The invitees wasted no time
in joining the fray.
The
attack left several students with various injuries – cuts and bruises.
An aged Vice Principal in charge of Special Duties was attacked with
insecticide. The aged VP was momentarily ‘blinded’ by the attack as he
tried to broker  a ceasefire. A member of the staff, who witnessed the
fracas, said: “These students are something else. They have constantly
been harassing this same Vice Principal, who is older than most of
their parents, to come and have sex with them in their hostel,” our
source further revealed.
Some
of the injured students were rushed to Teme Hospital, Mile 1, Diobu,
for medical attention at the time of compiling this report. The Rivers
State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ben Ugwuegbulam, who
confirmed the incident, dispelled any notion of cultists involvement in
the fracas.  He said: “Our men have waded into the matter with a team
drafted to the school to restore calm. But what happened has nothing to
do with cults. It was a misunderstanding between SS2 and SS3 students
and investigation is still on.”
But
one of the students expelled for her alleged involvement, countered
Ugwuegbulam’s assertion, insisting: “The SS2 students invited cult
members from other schools who came and joined in the fight.”
Meanwhile,
Nation Evening Express also gathered that the SS2/SS3 students
involved the disgraceful clash may be ignorant pawns in a dangerous
chess game by members of the FGGC board. Specifically, our 
investigation
revealed that there is a no-love-lost relationship between the
Principal and other members of the board over the administration of the
school and its finance.
It
was gathered that the game of wit by the authorities had also seeped
into the parents association, necessitating the change of leadership
recently after a member of the former executive was accused of
conniving with the school authority in a controversial N30million
contract expenditure.
Another
source said a section of the management has been up against the
Principal, Mrs. Edwina Azeh, for some time. “As a Kalabari, an indigene
of the host community, they are upset that she allegedly corners every
project undertaken by the school. Some inside influence may have
instigated the warring factions into a crisis to rubbish her
administration. Preliminary investigation into the crisis has pointed
to this conspiracy theory in the school war.”
Worried
parents besieged the school on Wednesday morning to withdraw their
children even though normal academic activities were still going on.
One of the panicky parents told our reporter at the school gate that
although she wanted her child to have education, “it is better for me
to have her alive with me.”
Meanwhile,
there were indications yesterday that some aggrieved victims are
planning reprisal attacks to even up scores. At a nearby bar, our
reporter met some SS3 students who claimed that their SS2 counterparts
were planning a reprisal attack. They claimed that their ‘intelligence
report’ indicated that the final attack would be launched on the final
day of the on-going SSCE examinations.
Ostensibly
aware of the impending clash, the school management has sacked all SS3
students from their dormitory. Only those of them writing examination
on a given day are allowed entry for the exam hour. But parents remain
skeptical. Some of them said the calm that has been restored was too
uneasy for comfort on Wednesday.
Already,
16 SS3 students have been expelled in the wake of preliminary
investigation into Tuesday’s bloody clash. The expulsion meant that the
affected students would miss their outstanding papers in the SSCE.
 Similarly, Nation Evening Express gathered that the embattled
Principal, Mrs. Edwina Azeh, made a quick dash to Abuja on Wednesday,
presumably to brief the authorities of the Federal Ministry of
Education on the sordid incident that happened in the school under her
watch.
Culled from The Nation

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