THE alleged killings of two students of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, by men of the Nigeria Police on the entourage of the Wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi must be probed by a judicial panel of inquiry, Nigerian human rights activists have said.
Convener, Coalition in Defence of Democracy and Constitution, Ariyo-Dare Atoye and the Executive Director, Policy Advocacy and Integrity Network, Joe Mesele, in a joint statement made available to the Tribune Online in Abuja, on Sunday, called on the appropriate authorities to immediately set up an open and impartial judicial panel of inquiry to investigate the killings and ensure that the real culprits were brought to book for justice to be served and for posterity.
According to the two prominent rights activists: “We are deeply puzzled and pained to see the Police in Ekiti State attempting to twist and reduce the sad and avoidable incident in Oye-Ekiti, in which two students were cut-down in their prime, to a single-story narrative and blame the entire saga on the students of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti.
“The course of action, so far taken by the Police in this matter, is unprofessional, wicked, unjust, unacceptable and we urge the general public to be wary of an unconscionable ploy to shield the officers that committed this egregious act from investigation and prosecution.
“Our nation is bleeding on all fronts, and this terrible incident cannot be another number added to the growing casualties of Police’s viciousness and reckless killings in the country. We are going to insist that every life lost in that needless and mindless display of brutality must be accounted for by the Police, while the officers responsible for the killings must be brought to justice.
“Consequently, we are calling on the appropriate authorities, to immediately set up an open and impartial judicial panel of inquiry to investigate the killings and ensure that the real culprits are brought to book for justice to be served and for posterity. It is unfortunate that the Minister of Education has not said anything over this incident. He has a duty to speak and to demand for justice,” the activists stated.
They, therefore, sympathised with the bereaved families of the slain students, as well as the students’ union government and management of the institution, joining them in the demand for the immediate release of the students who have been arrested by the Police.
This unsavoury development, according to them, amounts to a triple-injury on the part of the student community who have lost their friends, while the injured are down on their hospital beds.
“We also want to appeal to the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi not to delegate empathy on this occasion, but to show leadership by visiting the bereaved families and the injured on their hospital beds. The governor can as well visit the affected families in his own state, before going to Owo in Ondo State for a wedding party. Leadership is responsibility.
“As a governor, you were elected to act in good and bad times, and the people who elected you must be able to see you at the scenes of occurrences, including coming to commiserate directly with families of victims. We urge the governor to take this very seriously because of the popular impression about his commitment to the people and the state is unpalatable.
“This not the time to blackmail or threaten activists and social justice advocates who are asking pertinent questions from the wife of the governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi over the FUOYE incident and who are demanding that justice must be done, including the prosecution of the police officers responsible for the killings.
“Mrs. Fayemi should remember the experience of a former leader, who as a sitting president prevented his security men from opening fire on political thugs, who attacked his convoy in Bauchi State in January 2015, in which about six security personnel were injured. Mrs. Fayemi is a popular figure in the developing world and she could have handled the situation better, more so that the protest involved students who are not faceless and were led by the students’ union,” they added.
The activists then urged the students’ leaders to maintain peace and not allow themselves to be unnecessarily provoked to embark on another protest in the immediate.