ERC Condoles with NANS and Students
The death of the Senate President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Donald Onukaogu Sunday, Dimeji Azeez (a.k.a Fagbocious) and three others is indeed shocking. Reportedly, they died in an auto crash while on their way to the University of Uyo to intervene in the on-going crisis in the University which has also cost the live of at least one student during protest against anti-poor policies of the University administration. Their bus collided with a lorry. Seven others who were critically injured are receiving treatment at a hospital.
We condole with the families of the deceased, NANS leadership and entire Nigerian students. We hold the Management of the University of Uyo responsible for their death. If not for the anti-poor policies of the UNIUYO administration and the killing of protesting students, they would not have embarked on that ill-fated journey. It is only fitting for UNIUYO management to now immediately reverse all its criminal anti-student policies that has caused not only the death of one of its students, Kingsley a 200 level Geology student, but also five leaders of NANS.
The recurrent news of killings of students has become worrisome. This year alone, nearly10 students have been either killed or injured in one institution after the other in extra-judicial circumstances. All of these deaths have occurred either as a result of police shooting at protesting students or through other forms of extra-judicial killings. We will recall the public's mind to just some of them.
On 25 February 2013, four students of Nassarawa State University were killed while protesting against water scarcity and power outage. About 17 students were arrested while the University was shut.
Two days after on February 28 2013, Seyi Fasere, a 400 level student of the Ekiti State University was shot dead by police. He had gone to his hometown Ilupeju to collect his tuition and on his way back, the bus conveying him ran into armed robbers at Oye Ekiti. The driver veered off the road while all occupants disembarked and fled into the bush. Several minutes after the armed robbers had left, police came, combed the bush and found Seyi Fasere hiding like all others. However, the N100,000 he had collected from his parents for his school fees was found on him and this as far as the Police were concerned was enough evidence that he was an armed robber. He was taken to the police station and shot dead by a police man notoriously known as "Akobi Esu" (Devil's Firstborn).
On 27 May 2013, Ahmed Dayo, an ND 1 student in the Department of Accounting of the Kwara State Polytechnic, was shot inside a cab by Police men escorting a bullion van belonging to a first generation bank. Reportedly the armed police escort stopped the taxi and attempted to shoot its tyre because it was getting too close to the bullion van. Unfortunately, instead of the bullet hitting the tyre, it hit Dayo in the vehicle and damaged one of his legs.
Likewise on the same 27 May 2013, Ibrahim Momodu, a student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) was shot dead by CSP Carol Afegbai, the Divisional Police Officer of Ogida division.
The latest police killing occurred on Wednesday June 12 2013, and was the reason the NANS Senate president and his entourage met their own death. kingsley, a 200 level Geology student of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) was shot dead by police during protest against inadequate lecture spaces, extortionate fees and hike in the fare of the University campus shuttle. About 45 students have also been arrested.
It is unfortunate that NANS response to some of these mishaps has mostly been weak and uncoordinated thus allowing the police and government to get away with these crimes. Not in one of the aforementioned killings has justice been done or any positive results heard from series of investigations promised by the government.
Yet the cause of most of these mindless death of students is government anti-poor education policies which it wants to ram down our throat whether we like it or not. It is these same anti-poor education policies, together with bad roads, that constitute the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate death of Donald Onukaogu Sunday, Dimeji Azeez and three others in an auto crash.
There is no better way to honour the departed than for their death to be made an occasion to launch a campaign against police killing of students, the bad roads that is claiming lives daily as well as anti-poor education policies that are denying the youths a future. Instead of the usual verbose threats and media vituperations often issued by NANS anytime disasters like this occur, this unfortunate incident has to be a clarion call on NANS leadership to sit up.
We therefore call on the NANS leadership to immediately declare a day of action to honour the departed. Such a day of action which should involve lecture boycott and mass protest on all campuses nationwide should be used to protest against government anti-poor education policies, police brutality and extra judicial killing of students.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto