BRUTAL MURDER OF COMRADE NURUDEEN ALOWONLE YUSUF A.K.A OMOMEEWA: THE LASU MANAGEMENT HAS A CASE TO ANSWER
WE DEMAND JUSTICE
Forestall a repeat of this unfortunate attack and murder. We call for the setting up of a democratically-constituted security committee comprising elected representatives of LASUSU, staff unions, SEIU, the Nigerian Police and communities to work out a common strategy to keep the campus and its vicinity safe for students and staff.
Being the text of a press conference addressed by the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) on Tuesday August 24, 2021. The conference was attended by about 50 people including members of DSM/ERC, family members, left organizations representatives, NANS Joint Campus Committee Lagos and journalists. The media organizations represented include Guardian, Premium Times, Daily Trust, Daily Independent, Arise TV and Kaftan TV.
We welcome you to this press conference which has been put together by the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) over the brutal murder of our late comrade Nurudeen Alowonle Yusuf a.k.a Omomeewa who was shot to death on the evening of Wednesday August 18, 2021 near the gate of the Lagos State University (LASU).
Before we proceed, we wish to once again commiserate with the wife, 4-month-old boy, the family and friends of Omomeewa who are still in deep shock and mourning. Also, we want to thank the media for giving this issue the deserved prominent coverage since the incident occurred on Friday August 20, 2021.
We want to respectfully urge all of us to rise for a one-minute silence in the memory of our beloved comrade,
The purpose of this press conference is to update the public about new developments around our campaign for justice as well as what our demands are. But before then, let us recall the summary of events leading to today.
On Wednesday August 18, 2021, comrade Omomeewa went to the Lagos State University (LASU) in the company of his lawyer, Barrister Temilola Nurudeen Yusuf, to appear for the umpteenth time before the Students Disciplinary Committee (SDC) over a phantom case of admission racketeering. After his appearance at the panel, he thereafter went to attend a meeting of the LASU branch of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC). Both old and new members were excited to see him especially because he was one of the most prominent and committed activists on the campus before he left last year after concluding his academic work.
After this meeting, Omomeewa went to the staff club to discuss with a Senior Assistant Registrar of the University, Mr. Waheed Majekodunmi. After this, both he and Mr. Majekodunmi walked out of the LASU Iba gate to catch a bus home. Unfortunately, they were accosted by yet to be identified assailants who shot at them thereby killing Omomeewa while Mr. Majekodunmi reportedly sustained injuries.
When you look closely at the facts of this incident, you will agree with us that there are many questions begging for answers.
First, it is instructive to note that the spot where Omomeewa was killed was just a few meters from the University gate which always has, at anytime of the day or night, at least 3 or 4 campus marshals often armed with pump action rifles. It is surprising that none of them came to Omomeewa’s rescue when he was shot. In fact, both the police and the campus marshals at the gate claimed not to have heard any gunshot despite the fact that the incident happened only a few metres from the gate of the University. This is aside the fact that the men of the Nigerian Police Force often patrol the area. More disturbing is the fact that even though the Adolf Police station claimed a police patrol team found the body around 10pm, there was no evidence the police tried to revive him by conveying him to the next available hospital. Instead, what we know is that the body was left on the road till around 5am the next morning when it was picked up by the Lagos State Environmental agency (SEMHO) who dumped it at the morgue of the IDH, Yaba.
In addition, on the morning of Thursday August 19, 2021, the Adoff Police Station reportedly alerted the University’s Security Intelligence/Investigation and Enforcement Unit (SIEU) to the fact that an incident involving two members of the University took place at the gate the previous night but there is no evidence that they took heed of this. Equally, there is no evidence the police transmitted to the SIEU or the University management the name of the victim even though an ID card bearing Omomeewa’s name was reportedly recovered at the scene by the police. Equally, despite the fact that the lone survivor of the incident, Mr. Waheed Majekodunmi, was admitted and reportedly treated of gunshot wounds at the LASU health centre, it is unbelievable that the University failed to make any connection between this and the information of an incident at the LASU Iba gate which the police reportedly had transmitted to the SEIU on the morning of Thursday. It would seem as if gunshot wound is a common place injury which should not raise eyebrows.
So from the morning of Thursday, the University did not account for Omomeewa even though Mr. Waheed Majekodunmi, with whom he was attacked was hospitalized at the health centre of the University and treated of gunshot wounds let alone reach out to the family and friends to break the news to them. Rather, it took Omomeewa’s wife to raise an alarm around 5pm of Thursday that she had not heard from her husband since Wednesday night for the University community to be made aware of an attack on two members of the University community at the gate of the University. Suffice to stress that it is this kind of inconsistencies and gaps in the events surrounding the incident of August 18, 2021 that has made us to be strongly of the opinion that there are many unanswered questions and that an independent and democratic probe is urgently needed to unravel the truth.
FOR PERSECUTING OMOMEEWA TO DEATH, LASU MANAGEMENT HAS A CASE TO ANSWER
From the pattern of events described above, it is already clear and incontrovertible that the Lagos State University (LASU) management has a case to answer over the circumstances surrounding the death of Omomeewa. But LASU becomes even more culpable when it is considered that were it not for his invitation by the LASU management to a disciplinary panel over a phantom case of admission racketeering which was instituted against him since 2019, Omomeewa would have had no reason to be on the campus that day and therefore would have not been in the place and at the time he met his untimely end. This fact cannot be overlooked.
Omomeewa completed his academic programme last year and left the campus to try to make ends meet for himself and his young family. Unfortunately, the LASU authorities refused to mobilize him for the mandatory one-year National Youth Service neither, claiming that he has a pending case at the disciplinary panel, did they issue him his certificate. Meanwhile this so-called case of admission racketeering is nothing but contrived false allegations and phantom charges instituted by the management of LASU working with the Department of State Security (DSS) in October 2019 in retribution for Omomeewa’s opposition to the anti-student and anti-worker policies of the then Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adigun Olanrewaju Fagbohun.
Such policies included increase in acceptance charges from N10, 000 to N20, 000, introduction of a dubious medical fee of N10,000, harassment of students by campus marshals trying to enforce the dress code, increment of fees from N25, 000 per session which was a product of tumultuous struggle in 2014 to N150, 000 for stream 2 students. The Prof. Fagbohun-led administration was able to impose this dubious and anti-poor policy by balkanizing the admission into stream 1 and stream 2 whereby stream 1 pays about N54, 000 while stream 2 pays N150, 000 even though both group of students use the same facilities and are taught by the same staff.
But perhaps the major crime of Omomeewa and for which he became a target for victimization was his solidarity and that of the ERC for the leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU-LASU) who were sacked by the Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun administration for challenging the Vice Chancellor’s qualification for his position and for opposing his anti-worker and tyrannical policies. Angry and vengeful, the management first showed a taste of how far it was ready to go in punishing Omomeewa when in February 2019 it moved might and main to ensure he never emerged as President of the Students Union even though he won the most votes.
Thereafter in October 2019, the management using the Department of State Security (DSS) planted evidence on him in order to ensnare him in a phantom case of admission racketeering. Since 2019 when the panel has been sitting perfunctorily, it has failed to call any witnesses including those who planted the evidence on Omomeewa despite the fact that he had gone to great lengths to furnish the panel and SIEU with their particulars. The panel actually had no plan to prove a case of admission racketeering because there was simply nothing to be proved. Rather, the case of admission racketeering was simply a gimmick to hold on to Omomeewa’s certificate of as long as it would take.
This is why we say that the invitation of Omomeewa by the Management of the Lagos State University (LASU) to appear before the panel the day he was killed raises a whole lot of suspicion and therefore must not be overlooked by the Police. This is especially as it turned out that his appearance before the panel on this day was just a waste of his time. For instance, the panel could not produce documents he had submitted to it months before. Rather the panel expected him to have brought copies of these same documents and since he did not, they simply asked him to come back in the next two weeks. This kind of time wasting and delays were the reasons the panel dragged since 2019 and in the context of his brutal murder, they raise so many questions which only an independent and democratic probe can unravel. For us in the ERC, we are strongly of the opinion that the Lagos State University (LASU) management persecuted Omomeewa to death and are in that respect culpable and guilty.
WHAT STAGE ARE WE NOW IN THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE?
As you already know, the body of our slain comrade has not been buried. He is still lying cold at the morgue of the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Yaba. This is due to the directive issued by the Lagos State Chief Pathologist and former Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University, Prof. Obafunwa that the body must not be released to the family until an autopsy is conducted.
So far and rather unfortunately, autopsy is yet to be conducted leaving the family members in pain and jeopardy. In addition, it is regrettable that the police are yet to commence any investigation six (6) days after the unfortunate murder. In our opinion, this goes to show how the police and the state continue to fail Omomeewa even in death. This is not surprising given that Nigeria is already in an advancing stage of a failed state going by the regression in all indices of human life and the rampaging insecurity across the length and breadth of the country. The police far from protecting the masses are generally more an instrument of class oppression. This is why the cause of a new, just and egalitarian Nigeria run on Socialist programmes for which Omomeewa lived and died as a member of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) and Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) remains the only way out for Nigeria.
However, we hereby like to serve notice that we shall hold the Nigerian Police Force especially the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, responsible should this case be swept under the carpet like other cases of murder in the past.
(1) Immediate transfer of the case to the State CID, Panti and commencement of diligent investigation.
(2) Arrest and prosecution of the killers.
(3) Acceleration of the autopsy process in order to satisfy the wishes of the family who want to commit the deceased to earth in order for healing to commence.
(4) For enhanced security in LASU to forestall a repeat of this unfortunate attack and murder. We call for the setting up of a democratically-constituted security committee comprising elected representatives of LASUSU, staff unions, SEIU, the Nigerian Police and communities to work out a common strategy to keep the campus and its vicinity safe for students and staff.
(5) An end to non-residential campus system. For a crash public works programme to build adequate numbers of affordable and decent male and female hostels to accommodate all matriculated students of the Lagos State University (LASU) with a view to further enhancing their security unlike what obtains right now under the non-residential campus policy of LASU.
(6) For an independent and democratic probe panel or public enquiry comprising elected representatives of LASUSU, NANS, ASUU, SSANU, NASU, NARD, Lagos NMA, NBA, ERC Lagos NLC, NUJ, CSOs, JAF, SPN to unravel the circumstances surrounding this incident as well as establish the motives behind the attack and brutal murder.
(7) Withdrawal of the false charges of admission racketeering levelled against Omomeewa, posthumous release of his certificate and adequate compensation to his wife and child of 4 months old he left behind by the management of LASU.
(8) An end to tyranny and victimization in LASU. Omomeewa was persecuted by LASU management. In his memory and honour, we demand the recall of all politically expelled, suspended and sacked students and staff activists in LASU and halt to attacks on democratic rights.
(9) Reversal of all anti-poor and anti-student policies in LASU. We say no to N150, 000 tuition for stream 2 admission students. We demand a reversal to N25, 000 for all students and improved funding of LASU and its democratic management.
We once again thank the media for your support and solidarity always. We also want to thank various unions, associations, pro-working people organizations, Socialists and human rights groups who have offered support and solidarity to Omomeewa’s family and the campaign for justice. We shall continue to update the public as events unfold. Aluta Continua!
Comrade Hassan Taiwo Soweto
Comrade Adaramoye Michael Lenin
Acting National Mobilization Officer
ERC email: firstname.lastname@example.org