There was confusion on the matriculation ceremony of the Taraba State Polytechnic after college students engaged in a free-for-all, injuring each other in what seemed to be an ethnic conflict.
According to Leadership, the 28-year-old establishment held its matriculation every week in the past on the establishment’s premises positioned in Jalingo.
The ceremony, nonetheless, turned bloody amid clashes between Jukun and Kuteb college students of the establishment in the course of the matriculation’s cultural show.
Basically, the Jukun (Njikum) are historically positioned in Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Adamawa, and Gombe States in Nigeria and components of northwestern Cameroon.
On the opposite hand, the Kuteb (or Kutep) persons are an ethno-linguistic group in West Africa, who speaks Kuteb, a Jukunoid language. Most of the Kuteb stay in Taraba State, Nigeria.
While lots of the college students and dignitaries had arrived and the ceremony started, the cultural troupes who have been predominantly college students had designated canopies the place they and their entourage have been housed.
At the event have been the state Commissioner for Tertiary Institutions, Edwards Baraya, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, John Musa, and the rector of the Polytechnic, Ayuba Ibrahim.
Instead of a cultural show, the occasion turned bloody.
“Sadly, it ended with a free for all,” stated a scholar Mustapha Salisu.
“The Jukun cultural group who had a long procession from the uncompleted overhead bridge from the Jalingo town into the school were also set and prepared to be ushered into the dancing arena by the master of the ceremony as well as the Kuteb cultural group before the chaos started.”
A scholar of the establishment Amina Abdullahi (not actual title) stated the Jukun scholar who was holding an enormous stick as a part of their tradition show used it to assault the Kuteb scholar.
She stated, “We were prepared and waiting for the MC to call us for our display to entertain the guests, however, two students, one who was from the Kuteb and another from Jukum side engaged in a serious argument. In the blink of an eye, the Jukum student who was holding a big stick as a sign of culture descended on the Kuteb student.
“The Kuteb student scampered for safety and ran into the arena where the dignitaries were seated yet he was not saved. However, in the presence of both security and the dignitaries, the Jukum student hit the Kuteb student with the stick, and blood started gushing out from his head.
“He hit him continuously, and the Kuteb student fell, the school security quickly rushed and arrested the Jukun student at the spot.
“The chairman of the matriculation Mr Bambuu stood up and declared the matriculation ceremony close.”
The rector stated in an interview that the college had suspended all cultural actions following the conflict between the Jukum and Kuteb cultural teams.
Ibrahim lamented that the conflict led to the disruption of the matriculation on Saturday, July 31.
Checks revealed that though the coed who attacked and injured the Kuteb scholar was arrested on the spot, he was launched whereas the injured scholar was admitted on the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo.