FUOYE shooting victim urges govt to set up investigative panel, bring culprits to book

By Vincent Ufuoma

ONE of the students injured during a police shooting on September 10 at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, FUOYE, Azeez Elijah Olawale, has called on civil rights organisations to put pressure on the government to set up an independent body of enquiry.

This to ensure that the victims get justice, he said on Thursday. He also called on the federal and state governments to increase investment in education and address issues that led to the student protest.

Olawale, who is the National President of the Nigerian Library and Information Science Students Association, has spent over two weeks of admission at the hospital, following the violent incident.

He was admitted at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for a surgical operation after a canister hit him on the head but is now recovering.

In his statement, he also sent his good wishes and prayers to the families of Okonofua Joseph and Oluwaseyi Kehinde over the death of their sons.

Two students of FUOYE died from gunshot wounds sustained after policemen opened fire at them earlier in September, following a demonstration against poor power supply. Others, including Olawale, were also injured.

Below is the full text of his message:

I will like to register my condolence to the families and friends of Comrades Okonofua Joseph and Dada Kehinde. Indeed, our country has once again lost icons and potential future leaders to the hand of the deadly Nigerian Police Officers.

The incident of September 10th, 2019 is a clear indication that the concept of fundamental human rights does not exist in this country we call ours.

As a young fellow like many other youths, I have been able to maintain my determination to always make my family proud and always engage in things that will put smile on their faces but for the first time in my life, I watched helplessly many of my family members and friends shed tears seeing me in a critical condition.

Who do I blame? Myself, the unarmed protesting students or Students Union leaders? No! I blame the institutional failure of our nation and the Nigerian Police Force who without conscience took the lives of innocent Nigerians at will.

I have scanned through various newspaper headlines and discovered that politicians have begun their usual practice of using cases like this to attack oppositions and to earn cheap political scores and popularity while appearing to the public as people who care for the masses.

I think it is high time we began to put away political sentiments and pursue justice for those who were murdered, injured and unjustly arrested by the Police during the protest.

I am joining my voice together with other millions of well-meaning Nigerians who have shown keen interest in seeing that the culprits are brought to justice and made to face the wrath of the law.

Over time, I have watched and followed the activities of Her Excellency, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and adore her passion for humanity, the poor and helpless and I am convinced that cannot order the killings of innocent Nigerians whose interest she has always protected. This is why I am calling on her to use her position and influence to pursue justice for the slain and the injured in FUOYE.

I am also calling on Human Right Commission and Civil Organisations to prevail on the Federal and Ekiti State governments to set up an independent body of enquiry to investigate this gruesome acts by men if the Nigerian Police in FUOYE and to ensure officers behind this acts are punished with fear or favour.

I want to implore the Ekiti State Federal Governments to give attention to the issue that led to the protest in other to avoid this kind of wanton killings. It is high time the Federal Government addresses the issues mostly raised by students and give priority to the welfare of students in higher institutions in Nigeria. Federal University Oye Ekiti students have only protested against epileptic power supply among many other issues we suffer from.

As the National President of Library and information science students across the country, I can authoritatively say that many institutions including FUOYE which is a Federal University lacks adequate facilities to run this programme effectively. Ours is not exceptional, other courses and programmes do not have a uniform faculty which affects the learning outcomes of students. Many cases of inadequate staff in different institutions among many other issues. This is also similar to other courses.

All of the aforementioned can be credited to the poor funding of schools owned by government either at the federal or state level and until these issues are properly addressed and arrested, the idea of protest which often leads to lost of innocent life of promising Nigerian youth and damages of properties may not be put to a halt.

May the soul of our brothers; Okonofua Joseph and Dada Kehinde rest in perfect Peace.

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