FUOYE: WE CONDEMN POLICE KILLING OF PROTESTING STUDENTS
* Blood of the two Murdered Students on the Governor’s Wife
* For Democratic Public Probe into the cause of the Crisis and prosecution of Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Security Officials and Other accomplices for Murder
* Immediate Stripping of Erelu Bisi Fayemi and all Governor’s Wives and the wife of the President of their unconstitutional status as ‘First Lady’ and illegal use of paraphernalia of State power.
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns in strong terms the cold-blooded murder of protesting students of the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE). Two students were shot dead by police officers attached to the wife of the Ekiti State governor. Some others are reportedly injured. We condemn this vicious application of force as barbaric and unacceptable.
The Governor’s wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has issued a dubious statement denying her role in the murder. But nothing she says can obliterate the fact that the students protest would not have turned bloody leading to loss of lives if a security official attached to her illegal and unconstitutional office of ‘First Lady’ had not assaulted the Students’ Union President when they encountered the protesting students during her tour of the area.
What is paramount in this unfortunate development is that Erelu Bisi Fayemi – an unelected citizen of Nigeria – has by virtue of her spousal relationship with Governor Kayode Fayemi converted state forces of coercion to her use and in the application of that force snuffed life out of two undergraduate students peacefully protesting for improved power supply. Obviously it would not have been different if she was an elected state official. The two students would probably still be dead. However the fact that she isn’t makes it all the more unacceptable. As far as we are concerned, the training of gun barrels at poor students, exercising their constitutional rights, because a governor’s wife was caught in the protest, is the height of power drunkenness.
It is against this background that the ERC calls for immediate and democratic public probe of the incident by a panel composed of elected representatives of students unions, labour unions, community associations and civil society to unravel the cause of the incident and the culpability of Erelu Bisi Fayemi and her security details in the incident. We insist that this cannot be treated just as another murder committed by highly placed person that is swept under the carpet. If found culpable by the probe panel, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and all accomplices must be prosecuted in accordance with the law. We also demand the stripping of Erelu Bisi Fayemi and all Governors Wives and the wife of the President of the unconstitutional office of First Lady and the use of paraphernalia of state power.
The students were protesting the power outage that has shrouded the campus and its neighbouring communities. The blackout has subjected them to robbery attacks, including making them vulnerable to criminal elements, according to a press release by the Students’ Union.
We support the students’ decision to embark on protest to demand regular electricity. In an underfunded university system, with poorly stocked libraries, students are left with their electronic devices to access learning materials. But even these devices won’t work without electricity. It is completely justified that they had protested the poor electricity supply to the community.
The protest of the FUOYE students for regular power supply was an action towards public good. This is the reason why community members openly supported the students and their demands. Despite the billions of the naira the federal government has spent on the power sector, there is only darkness to show for it. This has further shown the monumental failure of electricity privatization. We of the ERC call for the return of electricity sector to public ownership. However, to avert the debacle of old NEPA and PHCN which also failed to provide regular electricity, such new public power company must be placed under democratic control of workers and consumers.
We express our solidarity with the Students’ Union of FUOYE. We equally condemn the banning of the union by the university’s management in the wake of the disastrous event the students suffered. The right to associate is constitutional; we call for restoration of the students union and warn against victimization of students.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto
National Mobilization officer