One killed, many injured as police shoot to disperse protesting Nigerian students

A 100 level student of Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Oluwaseyi Kehinde, has been shot dead by operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, witnesses have told news correspondence.

Several other students were also reportedly injured while students were protesting poor electricity supply in Oye and Ikole Ekiti on Tuesday, it was learnt.

The wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Bisi Fayemi, was also reportedly attacked during the protests.

Many students of the institution who witnessed the protest told our correspondent that the response from the police officers attached to Mrs Fayemi’s convoy turned the protest bloody.

This newspaper gathered that the protesting students blocked Mrs Fayemi convoy while she was returning from a tour of the 16 local government areas of the state, on an empowerment programme.

“While trying to engage the governor’s wife, a police officer attached to the convoy came down and slapped the Student Union President,” one witness said.

“Students retaliated against the police officer. And that was how everything turned brouhaha.”

“The police noticed protesters’ resistance and they started shooting sporadically. A 100 level student has been confirmed dead while three others are presently admitted in the hospital. Some others also sustained injuries,” another student said asking not to be named for fear of victimisation.

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Many other students of the institution, who witnessed the protest, narrated a similar situation.

“If the police had not attacked the union president, the protest would not have turned violent,” another student said. “It is not true that the students attacked Mrs Fayemi.”

Raji Subur, the students union leader of the university confirmed the death of the student to NNN in a telephone interview.

“We lost one of our students to police gunshots. Others are in the hospital,” he said.

When contacted, the spokesperson of the school, Godfrey Bakri, told NNN that he is not in the school environment and cannot confirm the death.

Police React
The police in a statement made available on Tuesday evening denied that its officers shot at the protesting students.

The spokesperson, Caleb Ikechuckwu said the protesting students took to the federal highway, away from the perimeter wall of the university and blocked the Oye-Ikole-Lokoja federal roads. He said their action caused a breach of peace and gridlock to motorists plying that route.

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“The protesting students also invaded the office of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) in Oye Ekiti. It took the quick intervention of policemen deployed to the scene to prevent further damage of the office complex.”

“The police officers at the scene pacified with the protesting student, removed the blockade and dispersed the protesting student peacefully.

“However, the protesting student turned around in their numbers and took their plight to Her Excellence, Erule Bisi Fayemi, The Wife of the Executive Governor of Ekiti State who was at an empowerment programme.

“The protesting students suddenly became unruly, hostile and took laws into their hands, also vandalized the motorcade of her excellency.

“The protesting students did not stop at that. They also assaulted the policemen who where at the scene to maintain law and order and damaged police vehicle
found at the scene.

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“Investigation is ongoing to bring the perpetrator to book. Further statement will be issued in due course,” the police spokesperson said.

In a separate interview with journalists, Mr Ikechukwu claimed no student killed. “Nobody was killed. There was no loss of life,” he said.

Reason for protest
Speaking on the reason for the protest, a student leader said the electricity situation in the school had gotten worse and put students life at risk.

“Students are being molested in the night, we are attacked at night, and we are regularly robbed at the night because we don’t have light,” Godfrey Bakji, the spokesperson of the students union told PREMIUM TIMES.

“Everywhere in FUOYE is dark. Students keep charging at petrol filling stations. This is risky. “We don’t want mass death in FUOYE. What we want is stable power supply.”

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