TRANSITION MONITORING GROUP DEMANDS PANEL OF ENQUIRY INTO KILLING OF OYE EKITI UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
The group at the meeting commiserated with the Student Union Government and the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) over the unfortunate incident which occurred during a peaceful protest at the University community during the week.
Penpushing further reports that, Akiyode-Afolabi who is also the Chairperson o West Africa Network for Peace, Nigeria (WANEP), added that, other resolutions of the civil society organization was a call on the Inspector General of Police to ensure that the culprits are brought to book to serve as deterrence to others.
The organisations pointed out that the recent visit of the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killing Report, further affirmed the high number of preventable killings of innocent citizens particularly by state actors in Nigeria and the connivance of the police structures in this regard.
‘The TMG demands justice in an unequivocal term for the students of FUOYE. We also call for immediate lift on the ban on the Students Union, history has shown that proscribing the union of students portend more dangers to the system and in this instance its very unnecessary. We call for compensation for the families of the late students and the students who sustained injuries’
The statement said the meeting amongst other things; condemned the continued threat to democratic space, freedom of assembly and association in the country, and most importantly the continued extra judicial killing in the country.
‘TMG condemns the unruly conduct of the police officers that are meant to keep peace in the community, who apparently triggered the chaos which resulted in the preventable deaths of two innocent students, Okonufa Joseph a 300 Level Student of Biology Education and Dada Kehinde, a 100 level Student of Crop Science and Horticulture’.
‘We therefore demand for the immediate prosecution of the police officers and other member of the Police Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) involved in this unfortunate incident. The reports from the students and other sources revealed that the protest was peaceful until the President of the Student Union was physically assaulted and slapped by an identifiable police officer’.
‘An act that is unbecoming of a responsible police officer in a democratic setting, the said officer has been known for being notorious and brutal with students, and other innocent citizens. The students at the meeting shared evidence of past overzealousness of the said officer, who is a member of the Chief Security Officers (CSO) team. TMG therefore calls for the immediate arrest and prosecution of this police officer’.
‘Furthermore, the students observed that despite the assault, the President of the SUG was able to calm the students down until when one of the CTU officers fired the first shot, an act that was openly queried by a superior officer present at the scene, before hell was let loose. We therefore affirm that without those acts of provocation narrated above, the situation would have been averted’.
‘While there are speculations that the wife of the State Governor ordered the shooting and eventual killing of the students, the Student Union President, said that Erelu Bisi Fayemi, the first lady of Ekiti State was at the Civic Centre while this was going on and might be unaware of the fracas going on outside the Civic Centre, until it became worse’.
‘TMG is therefore of the opinion that she therefore will not be in a position to order the firing of the students and that it will be in the interest of justice not to implicate anyone, who has no command responsibility for the conduct of the police’.
‘Rather the incident affirms the growing brutality and use of excessive force by the Nigerian Police, and the entrenched culture of impunity of perpetrators in several parts of the country. Which has once again resulted in these preventable deaths of the two innocent students?’
‘We believe that the narration of the students’ union government raised a lot of critical questions about the command structure of the CTU and the CSO team attached to the Ekiti State Government. We also believe that there are other factors that contributed to the unfortunate incidents, for example, we were reliably informed that contrary to the public opinion that students seized one riffle belonging to the Police force during the fracas, the police however retrieve their gun from indigenes in the community and not the students’.
‘It is therefore important for the office of the IGP and state government to unravel the several puzzles emerging from the incidents and bring all culprits to book, in other to prevent a re-occurrence of this kind of ugly incidents’.
As an immediate remedy, we call on the Federal Government to constitute a panel of enquiry to unravel the mysteries surrounding the whole incidents. We call on the Inspector General of Police to ensure that the culprits are brought to book to serve as deterrence to others’
‘The recent visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killing Report, further affirmed the high number of preventable killings of innocent citizens particularly by state actors in Nigeria and the connivance of the police structures in this regard’.
‘The TMG demands justice in an unequivocal term for the students of FUOYE. We also call for immediate lift on the ban on the Students Union, history has shown that proscribing the union of students portend more dangers to the system and in this instance its very unnecessary. We call for compensation for the families of the late students and the students who sustained injuries.
‘We call on the Federal Government and the Ekiti Sate Government to immediately conduct an audit to address all the infrastructural lapses that were the root causes of the protest. We believe that a learning environment that lacks electricity and other infrastructures cannot deliver any meaningful educational system’.
‘ We commend the Students Union Government and National Association of Nigeria Students for maintaining orderliness despite continued provocations and pressure from the students’ constituency, we therefore appeal for peace and calm while the issues are being resolved’.
‘We urge the police, students’ leaders (NANS, indigenous associations and affiliates), Ekiti State Government and all political actors not to politicize the FUOYE incident, as this will not bring any reasonable solution’.
‘To the bereaved family, we pray for the fortitude to bear the loss and that the soul of the departed rest in perfect peace. Lastly the meeting calls for more collaboration between the Civil Society Groups and the National Association of Nigerian Students and its Constituency in order to strengthen democratic tenets amongst students’ population and positive contributions to Nigeria as a nation’.