Kayode Fayemi, the governor of Ekiti state has summoned the state’s Commissioner of Police, Amba Asuquo, to investigate the killing of two students of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), who were recently killed during a protest.
Fayemi made this known in a broadcast on Monday, stating that a Judicial Panel of Inquiry would be constituted to probe the incident.
The Students’ Union of the school had earlier requested from the state governor to take actions on the killings of the students during the protest.
Exonerating his wife, Bisi, from the cause of the student’s death, the governor promised that his government would compensate families of the deceased; he also vowed to pay the bills of injured students in the cause of the protest.
“I have in the last few days agonised over the incident that took place at FUOYE on Tuesday, Sept 10, 2019.
“Until the multiple investigations already set up are completed, I am necessarily constrained from talking about the details of what transpired.
“I however do not need to be constrained about the emotions a tragedy like this evokes. 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.
“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.
“Our government prides itself on its strict adherence to the rule of law. The right of citizens to protest on any issue relating to governmental actions or inactions is a fundamental component of our good governance agenda.
“We could not therefore under any circumstances, have directed that deadly force be used on any of our citizens freely expressing their right to protest.
“Even before the conclusion of the investigations into this matter, we have taken a number of steps; a high level government delegation has visited the families of the deceased.
“This will not be a one-off intervention. We will stand firmly with, and support the families at this time. Those persons with varying degrees of injuries will also be given support whilst their hospital expenses will be defrayed by government.
“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.
“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.
“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,” he added, noting that “indeed it is obvious that the wife of the Governor and those on her entourage are victims of this unfortunate incident.”
Addressing the issue that led to the protest, which is poor power supply in the university, the governor said: “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,” he concluded, “I have been talking to the Rural Electrification Agency about including FUOYE in the next round of their University Electrification Project.”