Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo says her records show that the 55 Copperbelt University students who were arrested by police yesterday are not registered with the learning institution.
But Copperbelt Province Police Commissioner Charity Katanga confirmed that the students were from Copperbelt University, some of whom have been released today after paying admission of guilty fees.
Luo told parliament today that she read a story about the arrest of 55 students, but noted that some people were engaging in unlawful conduct under the guise of being university students.
“Mr Speaker, let me also take advantage of this same question in saying that there are a lot of people that go around parading themselves as university students. This morning I did read about 55 students who are claiming to be students of the Copperbelt University,” said Luo.
“When I check the records with the Copperbelt University and their names, these students are not even registered with the Copperbelt University and yet there is a story that they were rioting because they have not been paid their project allowance and meal allowance when in fact we have just finished registering the students. So I think it is very important for us as leaders when information comes to us, to actually cross reference with each other instead of creating information that is not correct.”
Yesterday, Katanga confirmed that the arrested youths were CBU students.
“We have arrested 55 students. Elven females and 44 males all first year students who were protesting heading towards the DC’s office where they came with placards over delayed meals and accommodation allowances. They were intercepted by police at Mukuba mall around 10:00 hours. They have been charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace,” Katanga said.
When contacted today, Katanga said some of the students had been released.
“I cant say what the current status is but the issue is that they started paying admission of guilty in the morning so as at now am not in a position to tell how many have remained,” said Katanga.
Meanwhile, Copperbelt University Students’ Union President Njikho Musuku said the students were released unconditionally.
“We managed to get them out today. The way the process was done is that we had to send someone there and they were released in groups. Not conditions were given for their released. We are meeting the DC later in the afternoon and maybe that will be discussed when we meet the DC because what the first years want is an assurance from government if they will be given their bursaries, that is what they want. Then when we go to meet the DC, that is what they want to hear,” said Musuku.