Heavy gunshots on Thursday rocked the ongoing national convention of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), in Abuja.
9NEWS NIGERIA reports that the convention is holding at the Old Parade ground, Area 10, Garki, Abuja.
The student leaders were meeting to elect a new set of executives to pilot the affairs of the Union for the next one year.
The outgoing president, who was recently suspended, Danielson Bamidele Akpan, has held on to the office for over two years refusing to hand over power.
Trouble was said to have started on Thursday as a coordinator of the NANS from one of the zonal factions, brought in armed men as accreditation was going on.
Upon arrival, 9NEWS NIGERIA gathered, the suspected armed cultists engaged the men of the Department of State Security (DSS) on ground in a gun battle that prevailed for a while.
Some of the DSS officials were said to have taken to their heels and retreated as they were almost outnumbered by the armed cultists.
Over 20 persons were said to have been injured, with one in very critical condition and was taken to the nearest hospital. Normalcy later returned at about past-11 PM as the student leaders returned to the venue to continue the election.
It was gathered that security was reinforced as soldiers from Abuja had to be sent in to provide security in addition to the DSS officials on ground.
An official of the NANS Convention Planning Committee (CPC), Adamu Kabir, in a tweet sighted by 9News Nigeria correspondent Thursday night, described the gun battle as “normal” in NANS context.
“This sporadic shooting is an annual ritual that must be observed in order to test the ruggedity of candidates contesting for NANS presidency,” Kabir, better known as Karoll, said.
Another student leader on the convention ground, who spoke to news reporters on the condition of anonymity, attributed the shootings to various interest groups.
He accused the ruling All Progressives Congress and the presidency of sponsoring a particular presidential candidate and providing him with some security cover in order to intimidate others.
The student leader also accused a second term governor of the ruling party from the South West region, of trying to hijack the processes with huge sum of money over his interest on a presidential candidate (names withheld).