Students of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) on Monday carried placards protesting against neglect of their welfare by the authorities of the university.
The protest, which began at about 5.30 a.m., created panic as workers and traders got stranded at roads linking the university, including Etta Agbor, IBB Way and Mary Slessor Road.
The placards read: “VC, give us water and light, students cannot study without light and water, electricity and water is our right,’’ among others.
One of the students, Mr Emeka Ebere, of the Physics Department, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the students had been staying without light and water in hostels for more than three weeks.
Ebere added that the school authorities were doing nothing about the plight of students.
“Rats come to eat our legs when we sleep because everywhere is bushy and there is no light for more than three weeks now.
“Again, we have not had water for months now and students have to go long distances into the town to fetch water.”
He blamed the situation on the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. James Epoke, alleging that the VC was not showing concern over students’ welfare because his tenure would expire next month.
Another student from the English and Linguistics Department, Miss Theresa Kahi, claimed that the vice- chancellor was the reason for the protest.
“The last time we demonstrated within the school premises, they charged us for damages but now we are protesting outside the school gate because we want water and light.
“We, the students of this school are tired of the attitude of the university’s management.
“The protest is to send a strong message to the VC that we need water and light inside the university,’’ she said.
NAN reports that a detachment of anti-riot policemen was stationed at the Mary Slessor/Marian Roundabout, about 700 metres from the main gate of the university.
When contacted on telephone, the vice-chancellor said the students had the right to protest, assuring however, that the situation would be resolved soon.
“They are students and they have the right to protest.
“On the issue of light, I believe everyone in Calabar knows that there is power outage for weeks now.
“The issue of light has been a general problem, not only to the university alone but the entire Calabar, we will try and supply them water.”
He, however, said that the institution would not be shut down because of the protest, adding that he would soon address the students. (NAN)