A body of Nigerian student activists, under the umbrella of the Alliance Of Nigerian Students Against Neoliberal Attacks (ANSA), on Thursday called on the National Human Rights Commission to urgently intervene in last month’s attacks on innocent citizens in Ilorin by policemen and thugs loyal to Senate President Bukola Saraki.
In a letter addressed to the Director-General of the commission in Abuja, the group, which comprises student activists from various tertiary institutions described the physical attack and harassment on September 22, by policemen of the Kwara Police Command and thugs upon student activists and journalists who went to observe the proceedings in the legal matter between Mr. Saraki and SaharaReporters Publisher Omoyele Sowore.
“On the said date, members of our organization who came from far and near to observe the court proceedings were beaten up by armed thugs loyal to Senator Saraki with the active support of police officers,” ANSA recalled. “This brazen attack was taken beyond proportion as a female activist, Funmi Ajayi was stripped and her clothes torn after being heavily pounced on by these sponsored thugs of a lawmaker.
They said journalists were also beaten by the thugs and forced to delete footage of the event or risk being killed.
“It is on record that Olajuwon Sanyaolu, our National Coordinator alongside other activists, after being beaten by these armed thugs, was arbitrarily arrested at the Court premises and detained at the Kwara State Police Command Headquarters by the Police officers working with the thugs at the Court premises,” adding that he was subsequently released due to due to several agitations which arose immediately following the arrest.”
“We see this act of impunity as a serious rape of human rights, our democracy and the rule of law,” the petition said. “We are calling on your esteemed office to urgently intervene in the high-handedness and violation of democratic principles by Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President who has turned himself to a tyrant of a sort, trampling on fundamental rights of innocent citizens.”
The statement was signed by Mr. Sanyaolu, National Secretary Femi Adeyeye, and National Public Relations Officer Oseriemen Patrick.