Pandemonium broke out on the University of Benin (UNIBEN) campus on Thursday when some soldiers went there to use Automated Teller Machine (ATM).
There were, however, variations in eyewitness accounts of what transpired between the students and the soldiers, which resulted in the clash.
An account said the crisis erupted when the students resisted attempts by the soldiers to jump the queue for the use of the ATM leading to fisticuffs between them.
Another account said a large group of students descended on the soldiers when the military men upbraided some students for wearing camouflage.
A Twitter user, @_kathiiie, narrated, “Soldiers came into uniben in Hilux to use ATM. Oppressed civilians into using the all the ATMs. And called a female soldier to beat up a female student who they thought was recording them. Uniben security intervened, and they were asking why Uniben security intervened.”
The soldiers reportedly slapped the school’s CSO for intervening, which erupted the students’ anger.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Prof. Lilian Salami has called on students to always embrace dialogue in resolving issues rather than taking to protests at the slightest provocation.
Prof. Salami made that call in a statement she issued on Friday in Benin while describing the incident as unfortunate.
“The unfortunate incident of the clash between some students and soldiers on Thursday, Feb. 2, resulting from alleged resistance of students to the soldiers’ attempt to jump ATM queues on campus has been brought under control.
“Management of the university is in discussions with the hierarchy of the army in Benin (the Supply and Transport) for amicable resolution.
“Management acknowledges that these are challenging times for everyone and enjoins all to remain calm while efforts are being made to avert a recurrence.
“Management also calls on the students to constantly embrace dialogue in resolving issues that concern them rather than taking to protests, at any provocation.
“Such protests cause more injury and damage for the students and for other citizens,’’ Prof. Salami stated.