One of the students killed during Tuesday’s protest by students of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Dada Kehinde, was on Thursday buried amidst tears and angst.
The Nigerian police have been blamed for the death of two students during the protest, but have refused to take responsibility.
The victims died of gunshot wounds fired by police officers, multiple witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES. Videos of police officers shooting to disperse the protesters have also been circulated on social media.
Rather than arrest and prosecute the shooters, however, the police have been arresting students who allegedly manhandled two of its officers.
Mr Kehinde, a 100-level student of Crop Science and Horticulture, was confirmed dead from bullets wounds which he sustained on his eyes.
He was buried at Usi Ekiti, his hometown.
“Initially, we did not want him buried yet. But his family disagreed,” said the Student Union Government’s Public Relations Officer, Omofoye Adetola.
“They want him buried as fast as possible. You know it is not a thing of joy for his corpse to just be there. We went home to see his parents and we spoke at length. We promised them to bring justice. We even spoke with his brother.”
On the other deceased undergraduate, the spokesperson said his burial details would soon be made public.
“He has not been buried yet because of one or two things. We will keep the students updated as things go,” he added.
School Sets Up Panel
Meanwhile, the management of the institution has set up a panel to investigate the protest and the reasons behind the death of the students.
The Vice-Chancellor, Kayode Soremekun, who set up the 12-member panel, also asked the panel to look into the manner of an attack on the convoy of the wife of the Ekiti State governor, Bisi Fayemi.
This was contained in a press release on Thursday signed by Olatunbosun Odusanya, Director of Administration of the institution.
He said the committee was set up to investigate the root cause of the action and prevent future occurrence.
The panel is headed by the FUOYE’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Abayomi Fasina, while Blessing Eyiolorunpe is the Secretary.
Other members are Paul Ogidi; Security Officer Dosu Malomo; Dean of Students Affairs, Mufutaau Ibrahim; Council Affairs Officer, Chika Asoqua; Representatives of Nigeria Police, SSS, National Association of Nigeria Students, and NSCDC.
The university’s Public Relations Officer, Godfrey Bakje, in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, confirmed the setting up of the panel. He said the panel will also investigate the death of students.
The school has been shut down indefinitely as a result of the crisis.
Police Commissioner Speaks
The Ekiti State police commissioner, Asuquo Amba, said on Thursday that two students of FUOYE have been arrested in connection with the alleged attack on Mrs Fayemi and her security details during the protest.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mrs Fayemi on Wednesday said she did not personally come in contact with the students, indicating she was not attacked and saying she could, thus, not have ordered the police to shoot at the students.
She, however, said her convoy was attacked by the protesters.
Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, Mr Amba said two of his officers were wounded while two police vans were burnt during the attack.
“Two persons have been arrested and one of them has confessed to the commission of the crime,” he said.
“When a crime is committed, we don’t fold our arms and watch. Even a civilian can effect arrest if crime is committed in front of him and hand them over to the police.”
The police chief condemned the attack on the police officers while doing their statutory duties, saying it was wrong for his operatives to have been beaten for trying to restore orderliness.
“It is sad that police are being attacked by criminals and the civilians whom we are protecting are also attacking our people,” he said.
“We won’t rest until the perpetrators of this dastardly attack are arrested and brought to justice.”
Mr Amba gave no indication that the police would identify and prosecute its officers who shot at the students.
The police had earlier claimed nobody died and that its officers did not fire any shot.
Protest Turns Violent
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the students’ protest turned violent after a police officer, said to be among those attached to Mrs Fayemi’s convoy, slapped the students’ union president.
The other students protested the slap of their leader and attacked the police officer, witnesses told this newspaper.
The police then fired gunshots to disperse the protesters and in the process shot some of the students, two of whom died.