In a country where the value of human life is not worth more than that of a fly at a butcher’s shop; where misery is a constant companion and the candour of our politicians and/or rulers is the same candour that pimps extend to prostitutes, it is not out of place to celebrate every minute, every hour, every month, and every year.
Virtually every genuine student of the Nigerian Students’ Movement are tired of listening to the lamentations about the good old days of yesteryears. Statements such as:
“Gone are the days of students’ activism on our university campus”;
“Revolutionary student leaders like the late Segun Okeowo no longer exists”;
“Students comrades are now political halleluya boys”;
… are the common lines used by the older generation of genuine comrades to register their displeasure at the death of a viable and strong students’ movement in Nigeria.
The numbness and dumbness of today’s comrades is another form of blindness that reflects on our nation’s collective myopia regarding social and political issues like corruption, poverty, unemployment, etc.
As university students (be it undergraduate or postgraduate) and comrades (both genuine and counterfeit), we are expected to take active roles in democracy – roles beyond the ballot box. We are expected to help frame both issues and solutions in our communities, our nation, and the world. Nigerian students and comrades no longer participate in the kind of vibrant civic life that is critical to the success of our democracy.
Our students and comrades have failed to be active in developing and promoting civic space in education of democratic citizenship and engagement of our citizens by developing their political consciousness. In a country of 170 million people, students’ and youths’ voices matter!
In the ’60s and ’70s, history has it that there was a huge rise in the involvement of students in politics. Time and again, we have seen and/or read how they have stood together to raise their voices against social injustices, tyranny, oppression, and dictatorship and have made impact on policies affecting them and Nigeria as a whole. Today, our university students and comrades are as dumb as a dummy. They have become “political almajiris” with the most corrupt politicians being their role models and decorating crooks with the highest students awards and honours.
The list of our shortcomings goes on and on. …
These and many more are the crimes of the Nigerian Students and comrades. I beg to bring the attention of the entire nation to a subtle and deliberate avenue which has heavily culminated in the slow decline and death of the involvement of these students and comrades in national issues – the extrajudicial shootings which has resulted in maimings and killings of Nigerian Students and comrades.
On Sunday, June 19th, 2016, news broke out of the clampdown on protesting Nigerian students domiciled in the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO) campus by the men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). These protesting students had blocked the Akure-Owo express road to show their grievance over an accident that occurred a day before, Saturday, June 18th, 2016, involving a police patrol van and a student of RUGIPO.
Israel Fagbemigun, a concerned stakeholder in Ondo State Students’ and Youths Movement submitted thus at about 11:00pm on Sunday, June 19th, 2016:
“I’ve just left Owo few minutes ago. I paid an unscheduled visit earlier today, with respect to the students/police crises, and I want to say without mincing words that no death have been recorded either from students end or from the police.
About 9 students sustained various degree of injuries and one of them, who is in critical state, has been transfered to a neighbouring state for medical attention. 5 Police men are also said to be in the hospital as a result of various degrees of injuries sustained.
However, as at this moment, calm and peace has been restored in RUGIPOL and its environs.
Students arrested in connection with the riot have been released at our instance. Issues in connection with the cause of the crises is presently being critically examined, and a comprehensive account of the event may be released soonest, if neccessary.”
The President of the RUGIPO released this statement on Sunday, 19/06/2016, at about 8:00pm:
“It was a tyrannical, oppressing scene in my school today as the men of NPF took to the street, shooting at sight against our students. It all started when a policeman knocked down a bike with two people which included a female Mass Communication ND1(PT) student with the policeman neglecting them and running away (hit and run).
This morning, the news was spread around school that the girl involved in the accident is dead and this prompted the students to gather at the school (gate) to know the true state of report. Then we went to the hospital to see if they are dead or not and it was confirmed that the girl is in COMA after sustaining HEAD INJURY and has been referred to IFE for treatment and this was brought to the students and this prompted the student to proceed on a mass walk to the police station to show our grievances.
But it is disheartening to see men of the NPF shooting sporadically against our students upon seeing us approaching the police station, not minding the Rector and the Directorate of Students’ coming with us. They shot at the Rector himself if not for the cadet C.O who safeguarded him.
As at now, over 10 students were shot, sustaining injury while some were mercilessly beaten while on their way from church. The NPF equally burnt down a room in COCOA villa of the institution with tear-gas thus burning the credentials of four (4) students.
We are presently at the police station to release those arrested by the men of NPF.”
Ebifemi Adebanjo Omojuwa
What a reporter reported at about 9:15pm on Sunday, June 19th, 2016:
“Social activities were paralysed in Owo town, Ondo State, on Sunday following a bloody clash between the students of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo and men of the state police command.
According to an eyewitness, many people were injured while several vehicles were destroyed during the clash.
A student of the institution whose identity could not be confirmed as of press time was also allegedly shot by the police.
It was gathered that trouble started when a police patrol van hit some students of the institution and the policemen in the vehicle allegedly abandoned the student and ran away.
The development was said to have led the students to protest to the ‘B’ Division Police Station at Otapete area of the town.
It was also alleged that the policemen at the station, instead of attending to the protesting students, fired tear gas to disperse them. The action of the police reportedly angered the students, who destroyed vehicles parked inside the station with one of the students being shot.
The protesting students barricaded the Owo/Akure expressway, causing a gridlock that lasted for several hours.
Many areas in the town were also blocked as the students set up bonfires in many places, preventing residents from going out.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Femi Joseph, said the students attacked and injured the Divisional Police Officer. He said the DPO was in a critical condition at the hospital.
Joseph said the students also attacked the police officers who were on duty when they stormed the station, adding that the students vandalised the parked vehicles inside the station despite the DPO’s call for calm.
He said, “The police vehicle that hit the students was not deliberate and it was a total lie that the driver abandoned the students because he immediately took the victims to a hospital and they are currently receiving treatment.”
The Vice President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Mr. Timileyin Ayenuro, called for the immediate removal of the DPO of ‘B’ Division Police Station for allegedly fuelling the crisis.
He explained that the students expected an apology from the police.
He also demanded the immediate release of the arrested students and warned the police to stop harassing the students of the institution.
1. THE NPF
The Nigerian Police Force should train its officers in crowd control. In fact, men of the NPF require training and re-training in virtually all facets of policing! This crisis was avoidable.
Forget about the inadequacies of the Nigerian Students’ Movemenk, overlook our weak national strength at the moment and concentrate on the role of the NPF in this fracas.
The Nigerian Police Force remains the number one enemy of the Nigerian students and comrades in this country. Are there no ways to combat protesting students other than sporadic gun shots? The NPF needs a complete overhaul. Their offense isn’t only corruption, bribe taking, negligence of duty among others. Their major crime against the Nigerian people in particular, and humanity in general, is the indiscriminate use of firearms, especially against unarmed protesting Nigerian students!
These shooting and maiming are a well calculated attempt to silence our voice. It is a deliberate move to render us permanently dumb and numb. It is now a recurring theme aimed at rendering us inconsequential in the scheme of national polity. To the Inspector General of Police, tell your incompetent boys they can kill one, two, three or some of us, but their bullets can’t kill us all! I’m a comrade, a full fledged one for that matter, my pain is in the fact that it could have been my body riddled by bullets from officers paid by taxpayer’s money to protect and safeguard my life!!!
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) should, as a matter of top priority, convene a national summit for all SUG Presidents, top SUG officials and/or Students’ leaders to train and re-train these leaders on crowd management, civic unrest, fundamental human rights etc.
To the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), our association is no longer at sleep, this disturbing sleep is so long I’m of the strong opinion that we are now in a state of coma! An urgent prodding of our conscience is of immense importance now. We need to retrace our steps to the glory days of years gone pass.
3. The Nigerian Students
While the rage in me is aimed towards men of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), I’ll apportion your due portion of the blame. Le me reiterate to you in clear terms, the NPF is not our “f*cking friend”. Let them keep their friendship amongst their blood-sucking, dream-shattering, future-draining kilking nest Force Headquarters in Abuja. Friends don’t kill friends!!!
Every Nigerian student MUST understand that his/her right to peaceful protest ends when they infringe on the right of other Nigerians to free movement. When flow of traffic is disturbed due to heavy protest by Nigerian students, then they’ve crossed the line in airing their grievance.
We (students) usually take to major highways while protesting to attract huge media attention to our plight and predicament . Of what use is a protest with no media coverage?
We need to have a paradigm shift from protesting for the gallery of media attention, wantom destruction of properties and self seeking glory to protesting to effect a positive change!
Finally, on this occasion of the brutal shooting and maiming of innocent Nigerian Students and comrades, I rededicate myself to the destruction of that system, no matter what its purveyors call it, that seeks to enslave the workers of the world; to categorically detest and overthrow all circumstances in which the human being is humiliated, enslaved; abandoned, and despised!
I pledge to Nigeria; however, not Nigeria in its extremely dysfunctional state. I commit to a new, progressive, and egalitarian Nigeria where citizens will be defined not by their name, language, faith, or ethnicity; where citizens will
find fulfillment no matter which part of the country they come from; above all, a Nigeria where every Nigerian can live in peace, go to school, work, raise a family and run for office wherever they choose. I believe that Nigeria is possible!
This challenge is bigger than the Nigerian Students and Comrades. It is the story and challenge of the Nigerian people! #BeWise