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We did not attack the governor’s wife, say FUOYE students

By Ngozi Adobi and Juliet Muoghalu
19 September 2019   |   4:10 am
Chaos broke out at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, (FUOYE), Ekiti State, as what was supposed to be a peaceful deliberation between the students of the school and the First lady of the state, Dame Bisi Fayemi....

Dame Bisi Fayemi<br />

Chaos broke out at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, (FUOYE), Ekiti State, as what was supposed to be a peaceful deliberation between the students of the school and the First lady of the state, Dame Bisi Fayemi,turned into a blood bath.The turn of events led to deaths, including students and force men, leaving a few others injured.

According to a source, the students alongside the leadership of their Student Union Government (SUG), were on the road to show their displeasure over outage in their campuses, when the first lady coincidentally arrived at the scene of the already concluded protest.

“No one was trying to attack her, the students only sought an audience with her to help resolve the electricity issues they have been battling with on their campus for long now. We only inquired if the government knew about the inadequate power supply we have endured for years.

“We led a protest last semester, concerning this issue and we were told that changes will be made to that effect. Although, they did as they had promised but it was short-lived, as it lasted only a few days and we were back to square one,” the former assistant general secretary of the union said.

He explained that they decided to exercise a little more patience after their first protest. They also spoke to the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), and they assured that the issue would be resolved. “And alas, nothing has been done and this led to the Tuesday, September 10, protest at the Ikole and Oye campuses.

Also, a student of the school, who narrowly escaped being hit by a stray bullet, described the events that led to the sporadic shooting as horrible.
“On the spot, a student, who was beside me, dropped dead, one of our student that was shot in the stomach, died the following day as a result of internal bleeding,” he said.

Meanwhile, the students’ union leader, Comrade Oluwaseun Awodola, has urged Nigerian students to disregard the stories that FUOYE students attacked the First Lady.

Awodola, who started a campaign with #students are not hoodlums in the aftermath of the protest, explained, “the protest ended at about 2pm that fateful day and I have retired to our hostel when an Army official summoned me. When I arrived the scene, I engaged the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the first lady in a conversation, narrating our ordeal and pleading to him to help us get to the first lady. The CSO assured us that we will speak to the First lady, we were still talking when an officer slapped me.”He said that the CSO pleaded with him and the other students who were already infuriated with rage as to why the officer will disrespect their leader.

A student who wished to remain anonymous said, “we asked the officer to tender an apology to our leader and no one signified that they were responsible. It was in these squabbles for an apology from an ego-defensive officer that the shooting began.

“The officers had no intention of scaring us with the gunshots but they were hell bent on killing us. They were shooting at us directly; I mean real guns, real bullets and tear gas. It was in heat of the riot that we picked up stones when we saw that our colleagues were being killed and maimed by the brutes.”

However, some of the students who lived around the campus have expressed fears as armed men are still hovering around the area, arresting and harassing students.

One of the students, Don James, said, “we cannot go outside because soldiers are here with the police and civil defense. They have been arresting and harassing students at the school and Irona junctions.”
Some students, who were traveling from Oye to Akure, claimed that some police officers are using the opportunity to extort the students.

“The sum of N20, 000 was collected from me as a bail after I was arrested and harassed,” says one of the students.“After the management shut down, I packed my bag and went to the bus stop to board a vehicle to Ondo city. I boarded a vehicle from the school junction to Ondo with five FUOYE students. At exactly 11:00am we got to Ikere after Ado. The Nigeria Police Force stopped our vehicle and asked, ‘you are from which school?’ and we all chorused FUOYE.