The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS ZONE D) has sent a petition to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Suleiman Abba, to protest illegal arrest and unlawful detention of several their colleagues by the Ekiti State Command January 25th 2015.
A statement signed by Comrade Sunday Asefon, the NANS ZONE D Coordinator, said that Ogunkuade Tosin Jasper (NANS Vice President, External Affairs), Bewaji Oluwadamilare (former Chairman, NANS Joint Campus Committee, Ekiti State); Odebunmi Idowu ID ALUTA, and two others were arrested by men of the Ekiti Command on spurious allegations that the students were caught with dangerous weapons.
“The young student activists were harmless, and were only found with General Muhammadu Buhari’s posters and handbills,” the statement said, describing the attempt as an embarrassing plot to set-up and incriminate the student leaders as thugs.
It said the students were really being harassed because they had publicly declared their support for the presidential candidature of General Muhammadu Buhari when he visited the last week and Jasper spoke on behalf of Nigerian students.
The students condemned in the strongest terms the partisan posture of the Ekiti State Police Command in handling civil and political issues in recent times. They recalled that about a week ago, the Command also arrested about four students of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, for engaging in a peaceful and legitimate civil protest, and threatened to arrest the Co-ordinator of NANS ZONE D, and the Deputy Senate President of the association.
“The hostility of Ekiti State Police Command to Students Leaders (albeit in connivance with the Government of Ekiti State) is beginning to assume a dangerous dimension that we must all rise to the occasion to cry out to the whole world to save us from this unholy alliance and evil conspiracy,” they said.
The statement further informed the IGP of their readiness, unless “reasonable action” is taken to effect the release of their colleagues in the next 24 hours, to storm Ekiti to demand the release of their colleagues.
The letter was copied to the National Security Adviser; the Senior Special Assistant (Youth and Students) to the President; the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission; the Minister of Police Affairs; the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Lokoja Zone; the Commissioner for Police, Ekiti State; and the Governor, Ekiti State.
Text of the petition:
27th January 2015
IGP Sulleiman Abba,
Louis Edet House,
OPEN LETTER TO THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE, IGP SULLEIMAN ABBA ON ILLEGAL ARREST AND CONTINUED DETENTION OF OUR COMRADES IN EKITI STATE.
It is with heavy displeasure and dismay that we (The Leadership of National Association of Nigerian Students NANS ZONE D) writes to bring to your notice, the illegal arrest and unlawful detention of our Comrades, Comrade Ogunkuade Tosin JASPER(NANS Vice President, External Affairs), Bewaji Oluwadamilare (Former Chairman, NANS Joint Campus Committee, Ekiti State) Odebunmi Idowu ID ALUTA, and two others arrested by men of the Nigeria Police Force(Ekiti State Command) in the wee hours of Monday 25th January 2015.
The above named Students Leaders were attacked at Ikogosi Ekiti, where one of them was seriously matcheted and as at this time of filing this report, he is still very unconscious in an undisclosed hospital, and they ran to Efon-Alaye Police Station to report the matter. To our amazement, the Police detained them at Efon Alaaye and they were later transferred to Aramoko-Ekiti Police Station. To our utmost shock, one of our Comrades, Damilare Bewaji, who went to visit them at the Aramoko Police Station, was also arrested and detained by the Police. They have since been transferred to the State Police Headquarter, Along Iyin Road in Ado Ekiti. The major offence they committed was that they publicly declared support in solidarity with the candidate of their choice, in person of General Muhammadu Buhari GCFR when he visited the State on the 24th of January 2014, where the Ogunkuade oluwatosin (Jasper), the Vice President (External Affairs) of NANS, spoke on behalf of Nigerian Students. It should be recalled that Ogunkuade is a native of Ikogosi-Ekiti, in Ekiti State.
We consider this arrest as too embarrassing, an affront on the civic rights of our Comrades and a monumental embarrassment on all Nigerian Students and freedom fighters across the length and breadth of Nigeria. More annoying is the spurious, malicious and unfounded information being circulated by agents of Ekiti State Government, that the Comrades were caught with dangerous weapons. We make bold to affirm that this is far from being true, it is a deliberate ploy by the State agents to manipulate the facts and give the dog a bad name so as to hang it. The young student activists were harmless, and were only found with General Muhammadu Buhari’s posters and handbills. It thus becomes embarrassing and plot to set-up/incriminate the student leaders as being thugs. Going down to history, this is not the first time in Nigeria that student activist will publicly declare solidarity on National issues; A case study of the Segun Mayegun during the MKO Hope 93 Presidential election, Hembe during the Obasanjo 2003 re-election, Jude Imagwe during the Goodluck 2011 and a host of others.
Sir, It is imperative to further note and condemn in its strongest terms, the Partisan posture of the Ekiti State Police Command in handling civil and political issues in the recent time, We recall that just about a week ago, The Ekiti State Police Command arrested about 4Students of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, for having a Peaceful and Legitimate Civil Protest, The police command equally threatened to arrest the Co-ordinator of NANS ZONE D, and the Deputy Senate President of the Association. The hostility of Ekiti State Police Command to Students Leaders(albeit in connivance with the Government of Ekiti State) is beginning to assume a dangerous dimension that we must all rise to the occasion to cry out to the whole world to save us from this unholy alliance and evil conspiracy.
In a clear, unambiguous and unmistakable term, we demand immediate and unconditional release of these prisoners of Conscience. After all, they're being held for political reasons and nothing more.
Sir, Let us keep you informed that the JCC Structures across all the States making up the South West Nigeria are ready to storm Ekiti any moment from now to demand the release of their Colleagues if any reasonable action is not taken within the next 24hours to effect their release.
Be assured that we are Law abiding citizens and we shall continue to abide by the provisions of the Law. However, we're always guided by our Principle of "injury to one, injury to all" and we shall no longer tolerate any attempt to unlawfully arrest and detain our comrades.
Sir, we do hope you'll consider the urgency of our plight and wade in appropriately to effect the release of these comrades before Ekiti is turned completely to another banana republic.
Thanks in anticipation of your positive disposition and necessary directives.
Yours in Struggle for a better Nigeria,
Comrade Sunday ASEFON,
NANS ZONE D COORDINATOR.
National Security Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic
Senior Special Assistant (Youth and Students) to the President
Chairman, National Human Rights Commission
Minister of Police Affairs
AIG, Lokoja Zone
Commissioner for Police, Ekiti State
Governor, Ekiti State