The Management of Federal Polytechnic Oko, has debunked rumours that students of the institution were involved in the recent cult clashes in Oko, Orumba North Council Area of Anambra State and neighbouring communities.
The clashes had allegedly claimed the lives of about two persons which some publications had claimed were students of the institution.
But speaking with TNC today in Awka, the Public Relations Officer of the Institution, Obini Onuchukwu, made it clear that no student of the institution was involved in the ongoing cult clashes that happened recently in the community.
Onuchukwu revealed that the clashes were as a result of a cult war by cult groups in the host community and neighbouring communities.
“The attention of the Management of Federal Polytechnic Oko has been drawn to indiscriminate publications on the involvement of our students in cult-related violence. This is a misrepresentation of the real facts. For the records, we wish to state clearly that students of the institution were not involved in the ongoing cult clashes that happened recently in the community. We had shut down the school and our students had travelled to their respective homes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. So, there is no truth in those publications dished out to the general public.
“Our students are not in the school because of the shutdown of schools as directed by the Federal Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. It is indeed spurious to claim that students were killed at a time when their hostels were empty, and the College activities grounded, except for skeletal services provided by some staff on essential duty,” he said
Obini noted that more worrisome was the fact that the institution was never consulted for clarification or confirmation of the report before the publication was made.
According to him, the disposition of the media outlets that published the stories without verification negates every rule of objective journalism.
“Such false information is capable of portraying the institution in a bad light, create fear in the minds of students and staff, and further ridicule the laudable efforts of the Polytechnic Management to weed out cultists from the institution. The reports are mischievous and therefore condemnable.
‘It is obvious that the Management has through eagle-eyed security system reduced cultism to zero levels for the past 10 years. There is no possible way for cultists to creep back into the institution to wreak havoc when some strict measures have been devised to wipe out their nefarious and nocturnal activities in the Polytechnic,” the Institution’s image-maker maintained.
He called on all relevant security agencies to wade into the matter and fish out the masterminds of the recent bloody incident, as a matter of urgency, before the resumption of school.
“It is worrisome to us as an institution that these bloody clashes are now happening more often. It will not be good if our students return and meet this precarious situation on the ground. They are young people and may be cut in the crossfire by these cult groups.
‘The Polytechnic is ready to collaborate with the relevant security agencies to ensure that no student of our institution is attacked or harassed by criminal elements within the locality. So all hands must be on deck to arrest this local cult violence and street terrorizing gang,’ the PRO appealed.