Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti, has directed Asuquo Amba, the state commissioner of police, to investigate the recent killing of two students of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE).
Last week, they were gunned down after the police reportedly opened fire on students protesting insufficient supply of electricity at the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) substation in Oye-Ekiti.
In a statement released via the state government’s Twitter page on Sunday, Fayemi decried the use of “deadly force” on citizens “expressing their rights” and commiserated with the families of the deceased students for their loss.
He also stated that the state government would foot the medical bills of those who sustained injuries during the clash.
“I have directed the State Commissioner of Police to urgently commence an investigation into the circumstances that led to the unfortunate shooting incident with a view to identifying possible culprits within and outside the Force. Taken together with the ongoing investigation by the University management, we will consider the need for an independent panel of inquiry, if necessary once these fact finding investigations are concluded,” he said.
“I have, in the last few days, agonized over the incident. Until the multiple investigations are completed, I am necessarily constrained from talking about the details of what transpired. I, however, do not need to be constrained about the emotions a tragedy as this evokes.”
“Shootings arising from legitimate protests diminish our fledgling democratic dispensation and calls to question our commitment to fundamental human rights. Having heard from all parties to the incident, it is pertinent that I personally convey my deeply felt sorrow for the loss of two promising young lives and for those who suffered injuries.
“We could not therefore under any circumstances have directed that deadly force be used on any of our citizens freely expressing their right to protest. Even before the conclusion of the investigations into this matter, we have taken a number of steps; a high-level government delegation has visited the families of the deceased.”
Fayemi said he would consider the need for an independent panel of inquiry after investigations are concluded and that the Nigerian Governors Forum would also advocate the exploration of non-lethal rubber bullets in managing public protests.
He also said that the four governors from the states covered by the Benin DISCO have taken up the issue of power shortage with the vice president who chairs the privatization council.
“The issue that led to the protest has been the subject of intense disagreement and negotiations with BEDC since I became Governor. Last week, my Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities was still in Benin to see BEDC management on the matter of inadequate and inconsistent supply of electricity in Ekiti State,” the governor said.
“Though governors don’t have control over privatized power distribution companies, the four governors from the states covered by the Benin DISCO have consistently expressed dissatisfaction with the services of BEDC and taken the matter up with the vice president who chairs the privatization council.
“In addition to this, I have been talking to the Rural Electrification Agency about including FUOYE in the next round of their University Electrification Project. I therefore appeal for calm and caution as we await the reports of the various investigations.”
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