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FUOYE Violence: Fayemi directs police to commence investigation, suggests use of non-lethal rubber bullets

KAYODE Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State has directed the state Police Commissioner, Amba Asuquo, to urgently commence an investigation that would identify the culprits behind the killings of the two students of the Federal University of Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) during a protest.

Fayemi gave the directive in a statement he released through the official Twitter account of the state government Sunday evening.

“I have directed the State Commissioner of Police to urgently commence an investigation into the circumstances that led to the unfortunate shooting incident with a view to identifying possible culprits within and outside the Force,” he ordered.

In the meantime, before the conclusion of the investigation, Fayemi suggested to the police authorities to explore the use of non-lethal rubber bullets in managing public protests.

Fayemi who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, said the Forum would take the suggestion up at the highest levels in government.

“Taken together with the ongoing investigation by the university management, we will consider the need for an independent panel of inquiry, if necessary once these fact-finding investigations are concluded,” he said.

Two students of the university — Oluwaseyi Kehinde and Joseph Okonofua had died when protest by their colleagues  poor power supply at Ikole and Oye, the two host communities of the university turned violent.

An unnamed eyewitness had said that the violence that led to the shooting and deaths of the two students broke out when a confrontation ensued between the aggrieved students and the security operatives accompanying the wife of the governor of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, who was on a tour across the 16 local governments in the state.

But in the statement, Fayemi exonerated his wife, stating that she and her convoy were victims of the incident.

“I note the initial public statement by the university authorities and its Students Union body. We welcome the conclusion that neither the wife of the governor nor any government official directed the shootings.

“Indeed it is obvious that the wife of the governor and those on her entourage are victims of this unfortunate incident,” Fayemi said.

The governor noted that in no circumstances would the government have directed that deadly force be used on any of the citizens freely expressing their right to protest.

“Having heard from all parties to the incident, it is pertinent that I now personally convey my deeply felt sorrow for the loss of two promising young lives and for those who suffered injuries. I have in the last few days agonised over the incident that took place at FUOYE on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

“Any death is a tragedy. Any shooting arising from legitimate protests diminishes our fledgling democratic dispensation and calls to question, our commitment to fundamental human rights,” he said.

Fayemi outlined the other actions taken by the government in the matter to include the visitation of the high-level delegates to the families of the deceased.

“This will not be a one-off intervention,” he vouched for his support to the relatives of the deceased students.

The governor also promised that the students who were injured as a result of the violence would also be given support saying “…their hospital expenses will be defrayed by government,” he said.

Fayemi said the issue that led to the protest has been the subject of intense disagreement and negotiations with Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) since he resumed the governorship office.

“Only last week, my Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities was still in Benin to see BEDC management on the matter of inadequate and inconsistent supply of electricity in Ekiti State.

“Though governors do not have any control over privatised power distribution companies, the four governors from the states covered by the Benin DISCO have consistently expressed dissatisfaction with the services of BEDC and taken the matter up with the Vice President who chairs the Privatisation Council.

“In addition to this, I have been talking to the Rural Electrification Agency about including FUOYE in the next round of their University Electrification Project,” he said.

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