OPERATIVES of the Rivers State Police Command on Thursday raided the campus of the state College of Health Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, and arrested over 20 students suspected to be cult members as well as those protesting.
It was learnt that the security operatives on Thursday swooped on the male hostel around 1am and whisked away some students.
Disturbed by the development, the students staged a peaceful protest around 5am, shutting the school’s gate and demanding the release of their colleagues.
To quell the protest from degenerating into violence, the security men returned to the school around 7am and shot teargas canisters within the campus to disperse the protesters.
A 100 level student of the Department of Public Health in the institution, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, stated that the policemen came into the campus with two Hilux vans marked ‘Anti-cultism Unit’ around 1am..
He said, “The policemen came with two Hilux vans, marked anti-cultism unit and arrested over 20 persons from the male hostel. They were holding a list they were working with early this morning around 1am.
“They fired teargas canisters into our hostels and everywhere, I couldn’t breathe and some students that were asthmatic were rushed to the school clinic for medical attention.
“Because of the development, the students started a protest to condemn the action of the police and to demand that the arrested students be released to continue their examinations.”
The student added that the incident had stalled the ongoing first semester exam for the day.
On his part, the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Rivers State College of Health Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Promise Igoma, hailed the police for their efforts in ridding the institution of all cult-related activities.
“The Rivers State College of Health Science and Technology has zero tolerance for cult-related activities because this institution is health-based.
“During our matriculation two weeks ago, some cult members from the University of Port Harcourt and the Rivers State University came here to use our institution as a cult-recruitment ground and they nearly caused mayhem here.