Thugs on Tuesday afternoon invaded the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso and beat up staff of the university who are Osun State indigenes.
The thugs, invaded the office of the bursar but he was lucky to have been rescued by policemen who were drafted to control the fracas.
Sources told Newspeakonline that the thugs may have been sponsored by socio-cultural group, Ogbomoso Parapo. The group have in the past weeks launched protests calling for the severence of the Oyo and Osun joint ownership of the 26-year-old institution.
It was gathered that the thugs, while lanching the attack on the staff members, told them to go back to their state as Osun state was no longer needed as part of the institution.
But the National Secretary of the Ogbomoso Parapo, Hon. Michael Abioye, denied that the group sponsored thugs. He said staff members of Oyo State origin planned a meeting for Wednesday, adding that news of the planned meeting caused apprehension in the university.
He posited that the issue of changing ownership structure can not be achieved through violence but through amicable resolution.
A reliable source disclosed that members of the Education Committee of the Osun State House of Assembly visited the institution earlier in the day to address staff members of Osun State origin after they expressed fears over their safety.
The lawmakers reportedly advised the workers to stay calm and be assured that the Osun State Government would handle the situation. They also advised that should the situation deteriorate, they should stay away till the ownership crisis was resolved.
The source said: “After the lawmakers left, a major leader of the Ogbomoso Parapo, a socio-cultural union of Ogbomoso indigenes, led a gang of hoodlums to the institution. They first beat up a member of staff whom they believed hails from Osun State because of his saw name Osunbade, though he actually hails from Oyo State.
“From there, they went to the Bursar’s office. They beat up the security guard who tried to stop them. On seeing what was going on outside, the Bursar, who is from Osun State, quickly locked his door from behind. The hoodlums, led by the major indigene, went to the window to threaten him that they would burn down his office if he refused to open. But as they were planning on what next to do, the SSS people came. Then, they fled. The security operatives had to escort the bursar out of the premises.”
The attack caused pandemonium in the institution as staff members ran heter-skelter to escape from the touts.
But Chairman of the institution’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr Biodun Olaniran, described the incident as minor, saying some thugs came in to attack some ASUU members but that the case had been reported to the Registrar who was already taking appropriate steps.
National President of the Ogbomoso Parapo group, Saka Bello, as at the time of filing this report, did not answer phone calls made to him to get his own side of the story.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the institution, Mr Lekan Fadeyi, said he could not comment on the incident because he was not around.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Adekunle Ajisebutu, was also not available for comments.
Ogbomoso indigenes have sustained a campaign for Oyo State to take sole ownership of the jointly owned university in recent times. The Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewunmi, also made the call in an advertorial last week.
They claim that Osun State Government was not fulfilling its financial obligations to the university thereby hurting the system in very serious ways.
Some members of the Oyo State House of Assembly, mainly from Ogbomoso, last week moved a motion seeking the disengagement of Osun State as a co-owner of the institution.