Protest Rocks Metallurgical Training Institute As Students Go on Rampage

The OOU students protesting in Abeokuta on Friday.


By Amos Igbebe

A heavy protest Thursday rocked the Metallurgical Training Institute (M.T.I.) in Onitsha, Anambra State as students of the institute protested against poor hostel accommodation, rejection of the school’s Diploma Certificate by other federal government institutions among other agitations.

Trouble started in the school on Wednesday when some graduates of the school who had gone to Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, Warri, Delta State, to further their studies were rejected by the institute and allegedly chased out by some security agents attached to the school over the excuse that MTI Diploma Certificate was not recognized by Petroleum Training Institute which is also a Federal Government owned institution.

The aggrieved students who were rejected by PTI were said to have communicated some of their colleagues who are still studying at M. T.I. that they were wasting their time as the Diploma Certificate from the school which is under the Federal Ministry of Mines and Power was not recognised outside the school on graduation.

The situation was said to have angered the students who now organized themselves and delegated the Students’ Union Executives and some of the best minds to approach the Director of the school, Mr. I. I. Okonkwo to know his reaction.

On reaching the Director’s office on Wednesday, the delegation of students were reportedly turned back by the school boss who was also accused of not showing enough sympathy to the plight of the students.

However, feeling humiliated over the director’s uncompromising behaviour, the students were said to have as early as 8 o’clock Thursday morning mobilised themselves and vandalized some of the school property which included, the gadgets, such as Plasma TV sets and Computer sets.

On realizing the nature of the protest, the Director, Mr. Okonkwo, reportedly ran into his office with some members of senior staff of the school in a bid to escape the students’ wrath.

One of the students, a 200 level Welding and fabrication Department who didn’t want her name in print told our correspondent that the students’ grievances were many, but accused the director of showing no sign of addressing them.

She stated that the hostel accommodation provided by the school was crowded for the students and the institute kept on admitting more students.

Another student, Henry Imafidon, a 300 level student of Mechanical Engineering Department said that most of the machineries used for the practical work which is about 80% of the school curriculum were either obsolete or no longer functional. He accused the institute’s management of turning deaf ear to their plight.

The timely arrival of the police from several police Divisions from Okpoko, Awada and Obosi with the supervision of the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hosea Karma prevented the situation from degenerating further.

Before the arrival of the police, the students had, however, succeeded in blocking the ever busy Onitsha/Owerri Express Road with bonfire and singing solidarity songs.

The police while attempting to scare away the protesting students allegedly shot and wounded four of the students. The victims were reportedly rushed to a nearby hospital. While one of them is believed to be in critical condition.

About fifteen vehicles belonging to the school and some of the staff had their windscreens shattered by the protesting students.

In a telephone chat, the school Director, Mr. I. I. Okonkwo refused to speak to the press, claiming that he was not authorised to speak to the press.



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