From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, at the weekend accused the government and “its agents of killing its former president, Festus Iyayi, who died in an auto crash weeks ago.
In a press statement issued at the weekend by the University of Benin chapter of ASUU, the union alleged that Iyayi “did not just die in an accident but that he was wilfully murdered by the State and its agents,” adding that “at the appropriate time ASUU and Prof. Iyayi’s family shall demand concrete answers from the State for his murder.”
The statement which was signed by the Union’s chairman and secretary, Anthony Monye-Emina and Okeri Henry, respectively, said it was aware that there were deliberate steps being taken by the State and its agents to distort the facts of the ‘accident’ as it happened.
The union said it will call for an autopsy to be performed on the corpse of the late Festus Iyayi, in order to determine the actual cause of his death, just as it warned that Governor Idris Wada (of Kogi State) and those ancillary to the accident would be made to face trial for the murder Prof. Iyayi.”
ASUU said it will work together with the family to give Iyayi the befitting burial that he deserves, stressing that it did not want any state interference in his burial.
“His burial should not be an avenue for government officials to score cheap political points as we will resist any state involvement in the burial,” the union stated.
However, a spokesman for Iyayi family, Robert Ebewele, told newsmen that the issue of autopsy was ASUU’s affair and that the family would go on with burial plans for Iyayi earlier slated for the first week of December, even as the result of the post mortem examination was being awaited.
Meanwhile, civil society organisations in Edo State have issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government to set up a panel of inquiry to investigate Iyayi’s death or face unpleasant reactions from Nigerians.
The organisations, made up of legal practitioners, students, labour unions and lecturers, made their position known at the weekend at a symposium and street protests organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, the National Human Rights Commission and Citizens Wealth Platform to mark 2013 International Day to End Impunity.
Executive director of ANEEJ, David Ugolor, said that a society not driven by justice was unacceptable, hence the need for the federal government to set up a panel of inquiry into the killing of the former ASUU president.