Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi has supported demand to probe on death of two students of Federal University of Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) when the Group met with leadership of students union at Ibadan.
In a Press statement signed by Akiyode-Afolabi, the federal government was called upon to immediately constitute a panel of enquiry to investigate what led to the arbitrary killings and subsequent closure of the University.
Commiserating with the families of the fallen two students of the University Okonufa Joseph a 300 Level Student of Biology Education and Dada Kehinde, a 100 level Student of Crop Science and Horticulture during a protest that turned bloody, TMG demanded for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the Police Officers responsible for the killings at FUOYE.
Abiola who was a former students union leader at the University of Ife, met with the leadership of the students which included President of the Students’ Union Government of FUOYE, Comrade Awodola Oluwaseun Samuel, leadership of NANS National Body led by Comr. Ojo Raymond Immunity and other former Union leaders of NANS to review circumstances that led to the incident in which first Lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi was alleged to have instigated the firing of shot that led to the killing.
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 the two innocent students.
According to Akiyode-Abiola in a statement, “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 statement read.
The students at the meeting shared evidence of past overzealousness of the said officer, who is said to be a member of the Chief Security Officers (CSO) team.
TMG therefore calls for the immediate arrest and prosecution of this police officer.
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. The TMG noted that without those acts of provocation narrated by the students, the situation would have been averted.
Albeit there were speculations that the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Fayemi, ordered the shooting and eventual killings, FUOYE’s Union President, Awodola pointed out during the meeting that Mrs. Fayemi, was at the Civic Centre while the incident was going on and might be unaware of the fracas going on outside the Civic Centre, until it became worse.
The TMG therefore observed that Mrs. Fayemi may not have been in a position to order the firing 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”, Akiyode-Abiola statement noted.
“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.”states TMG.
“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”, the statement affirmed.
Also, Akiyode-Abiola called on federal government to compensate the families of the dead as well as all those who sustained injuries during the unfortunate incident in Oye.
The TMG equally urged FG to audit 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”, the statement added.