A Chief Magistrates Court of the Ekiti State Judiciary on Friday remanded 16 students of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Ado Ekiti, in prison custody for their roles in the mayhem that rocked the institution last Sunday.
They are being prosecuted for attempted robbery, arson and burglary allegedly committed during the riot that occurred on the campus of the private university.
They were accused of attempting to rob a branch of Wema Bank located inside the campus, setting houses of ABUAD security staff members ablaze and burglary of a boutique belonging to the wife of the university’s founder, Mrs. Modupe Babalola.
It was an emotional scene as parents of the remanded students broke down and wept profusely as their children were being marched into a Toyota pick-up van belonging to the state command of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) heading for the Federal Prisons, Ado Ekiti.
The affected students are to remain in prison custody pending an advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
However, Chief Magistrate Adesoji Adegboye had dropped the names of six accused students from the same offences following an application by the police prosecutor, Samson Osobu.
The six were among those earlier granted N300,000 bail on a six-count charge of rioting, possession of firearms and malicious damage.
Chief Magistrate Adegboye adjourned the case to Tuesday next week for further hearing calling on the Ministry of Justice to speed up legal advice in order to dispose of the matter as soon as possible.
He ordered that the students should be returned to the prison custody.
Mother of the only female student among the accused persons amid sobs asserted the innocence of her daughter who was said to be in her final year at the university.
She lamented saying:
I have been fasting and praying, why is my child implicated in this case? I have struggled to give her the best education, I didn’t know this is where it would take her. My child is innocent oh!
The alumni association of the university has condemned the riot that rocked the institution leading to destruction of property worth millions of naira, while warning against misinformation on the social media denying that no student was shot, defiled or died during the protest.
Addressing a briefing on the campus on Thursday, President of ABUAD Alumni Association, Tope Sobajo, called on all stakeholders to join hands with the authorities to get to the root of the crisis.
She urged parents, students and members of the public to desist from making “spurious, inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims” urging anybody needing any clarifications to contact the authorities and the police.
The Association praised founder of the university, Aare Afe Babalola, for resisting the temptation to close down the university as a result of the crisis.