Monday, 16 March 2015

Gunmen Attack Nigerian Student Leader In Ondo State

Unknown gunmen attacked Afolayan Simon Awodola, the president of the National Association of Ondo State Students (NAOSS), a source familiar with the situation has told SaharaReporters.

 The source, who is also a member of the association, said that Mr. Awodola was seriously assaulted in Benin City, the capital of Edo State. “They used a cutlass to cut Awodola on the forehead after he tried to fight back,” the source said.

The victim is an undergraduate student at the University of Benin (UNIBEN) where he is believed to be in his final year.

"I understand that the assault happened around 9 p.m. on Saturday in Benin,” the source told our correspondent over the telephone.

According to him, Mr. Awodola had been at loggerheads with some officials of the Ondo State government, especially Olumuyiwa Asagunla, the senior special assistant on youth and student affairs to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, and Aderotimi Adelola, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG). “These two officials have been sponsoring a leadership tussle against Awodola because they said he does not comply with orders,” our source said.

In August last year, Ondo government officials barred Mr. Awodola from attending public functions organized by the Ondo State governments where student leaders were invited. “Mr. Asagunla has been fighting against Awodola because they accuse him of not siding with the government in power,” our source said.

The source said he suspected that the gunmen who beat up the student leader were cultists hired by some politicians in the state. He alleged that the politicians had sponsored factions within the state students’ association, adding that an 18-seater bus the state government had donated to the union was also seized from Mr. Awodola.

“Because of the coming elections, Awodola has been having issues with some political candidates in Ondo State,” our source said, adding that the wounded student leader “has been gathering support for some candidates and organizing students and youths to rally round certain candidates.”

Mr. Awodola is reportedly receiving treatment at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) where he was rushed. One source said the police as well as university authorities had been informed about the attack.

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