The Oyo State chapter of Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has demanded the prosecution of all police officers involved in the brutalization of students and staff of Federal College of Agriculture, (FCA) and Institute for Agricultural Research and Training, (IAR&T), Moor Plantation, Ibadan, during Monday’s protest.
The group, which made this demand in a statement signed by Mr. Segun Ogun, its state coordinator, condemned the action of the Police and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of students and workers arrested in connection with the protest.
The students, ERC noted, had embarked on a peaceful protest to demand that the Federal Government should accelerate the process of implementing the report and recommendation of the visitation panel from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development sent to the college between the 6 and 8 November for physical assessment.
The protest, which began at 6 a.m. around the main gate of the school, claimed the ERC, was very peaceful until the arrival of the Police.
“The arrival of the Nigeria Police personnel deployed to the scene of the protest at the instance of Dr. Babajide Adelekan, the embattled provost of the college, and Oyo state Police Commissioner, turned the peaceful protest of students into a scene of violence. This is quite unfortunate, given the fact that the police officers are meant protect lives and properties including the protesting students,” the group said.
It described the conduct of the policemen drafted as resembling that of hoodlums. They were said to have fired tear gas at protesters and chased them around the campus with stones before resorting to firing live ammunition.
This, noted the ERC, resulted in the shooting of two students of FCA and two IAR&T staff. Another student of FCA was injured with an axe by one of the police officers.
“Several other students and including staff of IAR&T were brutalized by the police officers and were arrested in a manner similar to abduction and taken away to their station. Thereafter, an armored tank was deployed to the school and its surrounding community in a manner to akin to war zone. Students and workers were randomly arrested,” claimed ERC.
The group said Dr. Adelekan, Provost of the College, and the Oyo State Police Commissioner should be held responsible for what transpired. It also demanded the constitution of a panel of enquiry to probe the conduct of police officers involved in the violence. The envisaged panel, said ERC, should include democratically elected representatives of students of FCA, FCA staff, IAR&T staff and the workers’ unions in both institutions.
ERC commended the staff and students of both institutions for the courage they have shown in fighting for improved welfare conditions.