Yesterday three undergraduate students of the Nasarawa State University were killed by armed soldiers, believed to have been invited by the authorities of that university to put down the students peaceful protests over inadequate water supply and their deplorable welfare conditions.
This morning, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) named two of the deceased undergraduate students as AMINU USMAN OSUKO, a final year undergraduate student of Geography; and EMMUEL NYAM BUBA, a year three undergraduate student of Physics.
The circumstances leading to the cold murder of the three undergraduate students are unknown. But one fact that is known is that authorities of the university invited armed soldiers to put down the peaceful students protest.
Two things stand out here. Firstly, that once again, university administrators have learned no lessons from the sad killings of Nigerian students in University of Ibadan (1971), Ahmadu Bello University (1986), Yaba Tech (1991) and Tai Solarin University (2009). That Vice Chancellors deployment of apparatuses of violence to address the legitimate concerns of students is shocking.
Secondly, that our military, para-military and policing agencies do not appreciate the fact that it is no longer a policing best practice to use live rounds on protesters. The questions that arise, in the light of the foregoing, are: who invited soldiers into the campus?
Who authorised the actual deployment of combat men, considering the operational command chain of the military? Was the Governor as the Chief Security Officer of the state aware of the military movement? Under what circumstances were the undergraduate students felled?
Whilst we believe that no truthful answers can be provided by the authorities of that university and or by the Government of Nasarawa State, we call on President Goodluck Jonathan, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to inaugurate a Panel of Inquiry to unravel the circumstances leading to the killings of the students by armed soldiers and provide answers to the questions as outlined above.
The Panel of Inquiry must comprise Nigerians of unimpeachable integrity.
However, as a first step, we demand the following:
That the Vice Chancellor of Nasarawa State University be suspended from office to pave way for an independent inquiry into the affairs of that university; and prosecuted for being vicariously liable for the deaths of the three students; that the Nigerian Army High Command must as a matter of utmost urgency make public the name or names of officer or officers who are/were responsible for the deployment of armed soldiers to the university; and the officer or officers who shot the defenceless students to death should be handed over to the police for murder.
Whilst we condemn the dastardly killings of the three students, we commiserate with the parents of the deceased. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. For the killers, the bloods of the felled students shall continue to haunt them.
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