The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has blasted the Government of Osun State over last month’s arrest and victimization of student protesters in Osogbo, the state capital.
In a press statement, the ERC, under the leadership of Mr. Hassan Soweto, accused State Governor Rauf Aregbesola of masterminding the police assault on students engaged in a peaceful demonstration, pointing out that the attack was carried out by the praetorian guards of the governor only a few meters to his office.
The assault took place on September 12, when the students held the demonstration to draw attention to the continued closure of tertiary institutions in the State, and to seek audience with the governor over the issue. The closures, which followed lecturers' industrial action from unresolved demands, have lasted over four months.
As the students marched peacefully in support of their lecturers' demands under the aegis of the Joint Campus Committee of NANS, a team of fierce policemen swooped on them as they approached the Governor's office, using tear gas and guns.
The demonstrating students scampered in various directions across the highway and some said they accidentally found themselves in gutters during the attack. Four of the students received various degrees of injuries, while some of their colleagues were arrested. A Students' Union bus following them was also seized.
The pro-students activist group also cited other recent cases of arrests and brutality against persons by State Security agents on the orders of Governor Aregbesola, including an attack on Barrister Alfred Adegoke, the State coordinator of the Democratic Socialist Movement, in his office, by men of the Department of State Security. Mr. Adegoke was reportedly brutalized and detained for hours for allegedly supporting State workers and pensioners over non-payment of their salaries.
"Governor Aregbesola's cup of impunity has run over", ERC declared in the statement, adding that the strike of the lecturers would not have been this prolonged had the Governor being prepared to dialogue with them in good faith.