…Education minister assures students culpable in recent demo will pay for actions
The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has said students found culpable in the recent demonstration at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), which led to the destruction of properties and items valued at GH¢01.7million, will be held accountable.
This comes after several back and forth attempts to reconstitute the University’s Governing Council, which were met with protests from various bodies with representation on the Council – UTAG, TEWU and the Senior Staff Association – until the intervention of the Chancellor, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of new members on the Governing Council, he said it is the position of government that “the relationship between university authorities and the student body has broken down”.
But, he observed, the students need to have confidence that their views are respected and taken onboard in decisions affecting them.
However, he said the Students Representative Council (SRC) “must own up and be prepared for the consequences of their actions because of the level of destruction” – adding that, individually, all found culpable must face the rigours of the law.
The Education Minister also charged the Council to work closely with management of the university to restore academic work as soon as possible, while helping to address the reccurring issues which affect the university.
The six new members of the Governing Council who were sworn-in included Nana Agyei Baffour Awuah, Nana Effah Apenteng, Alex Quaynor, and Hilda Hagar Ampadu. The others are Steve Anoff Amoaning-Yankson and Alhaji Yakub A.B. Abubakar.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, said the next stage of efforts to put the university ‘back on track’ after the recall of students, among others, will be to look into all factors leading to the breakdown of order on campus.
He opined that this cleaning process will help to draw the right lessons for future administration of the university.
“Accordingly, a full and transparent inquiry must be set up to look into all the circumstances leading to the day of horrors,” he stated.
To this end, he said, a 5-member committee will soon be put together after careful consultation, to carry out a full audit of developments leading to the riot by a section of students at the university.
The committee will be led by a Judge, and will probe all the remote and immediate causes of the disturbances on KNUST’s campus and the lessons to be derived.
The Asantehene, among others, cautioned that nothing should be done to hamstring the Council from discharging its duties in developing policies for running the university in accordance with its statutes.
He also stated that neither students nor alumni or any group within the university will be allowed to dictate, and conduct itself in a manner that undermines management’s integrity in the university.
Otumfuo said while the university awaits the probe that will look into the incidents which occurred, he is optimistic that the Council will work together with the university’s management to ensure a swift return to normal academic life on campus.
Meanwhile, re-opening of the university has been scheduled for Friday, November 16, while lectures are anticipated to also resume on Monday, November 19.
This was after Council of the university, at its 251st Special Meeting, in consultation with the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) reached this agreement.