We Demand Justice!
On Monday 25 February 2013, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) received the shocking news of the brutal killing of four students of Nasarrawa State University by the armed soldiers invited by the university management to repress the protest of students against water scarcity and power outage. 17 of the protesting students were also arrested. The University was quickly shut by the management after this incident.
We condemn in strong terms this shocking killing and arrest of the unarmed students . No official explanation or excuse can erase the guilt of the army as this is brutal murder of unarmed protesters demanding improved and decent welfare conditions. We place the responsibility on the University management who invited soldiers to quell a legitimate protest and the state government whose neo-liberal capitalist policy of education underfunding is the root cause of this killing.
We offer our condolence and most importantly our solidarity to students of the university as well as parents and families of the slain students.
This killing has again thrown to the fore the ruthlessness of the capitalist ruling elite in preventing every effort by students to organise to fight for improved conditions on campuses and in the education sector. Notwithstanding this, the fight for improved welfare conditions on campuses, against fee hike and the criminal anti-poor policy of education underfunding must continue. Rather than a deterrent, this killing has to be a lightning rod for a more determined resistance of students on all campuses against anti-poor education policies.
To prosecute this struggle, it is very crucial that local unions are rebuilt with leaders capable of fighting. Equally vital is the need to build a democratic and radical national student leadership that can unite all students in a common struggle against neo-liberal attacks on public education, and in the demand for the provision of free and quality education at all levels.
We urge all student unions, student groups and activists to offer solidarity to Nasarrawa state students through actions like parliamentary and/or congressional resolutions and public statements condemning the killing as well as to organise immediate protests and demonstrations to lend support to their struggle. This is essential to ensure that this brutal killing is not swept under the carpet like numerous others in the past.
We also call on all the academic and non-academic unions in the university to condemn this vicious action of the armed soldiers and the university management and give solidarity to students in their demand for justice and improved welfare conditions. The ERC demands justice for the four murdered students.
We make the following demands:
1) Immediate removal of the Vice Chancellor and dissolution of the management of Nasarrawa State University for inviting soldiers into the campus to kill protesting students
2) Immediate and unconditional release of the arrested students
3) Re-consitution of a new management through a democratic electoral process in which members of staff and students of the institution can have a say in who become principal officers and members of Senate of the University
4) Immediate arrest and trial of the soldiers and/or their commanding officers responsible for the shooting of unarmed protesting students
5) Setting up of a democratic panel of inquiry composed of elected representatives of staff unions, the trade unions in the state, students union, and civil societies to investigate the immediate and remote circumstances surrounding the killing, identify members of management responsible for the invitation of soldiers, recommend punishment as well as recommendations to forestall future occurrence.
6) Immediate granting of the demands of students for adequate water supply and improved welfare condition which led to the protest in the first place.
7) Immediate reopening of the University.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto