We of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), FCT, Abuja chapter hereby condemn the killing of Peter Ofurum, a student of the University of Port-Harcourt, by trigger happy policemen on 11 April 2016 during a peaceful protest against the decision of the University management to prevent students who had not fully paid up their fees from writing the first semester examinations.
According to reports, in addition to late Peter Ofurum, who was president of Faculty of Management Science Students Association of the students, other students sustained injuries.
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) FCT, Abuja chapter, hereby strongly condemns this brutal killing. We place the killing on the shoulders of the management of the University of Port-Harcourt and government whose criminal, extortionate and anti-poor education policies are the cause of this killing. Suffice to note that this killing represents another low in Nigeria’s dismal record of habitual violation of human right.
The protest which started peacefully, however turned violent after the killing. This pattern of event proves that in most cases, police overbearing attitudes and attacks on peaceful protest are the reasons why protests often turn violent. However, this is not the first time that the police have opened fire with live ammunition on unarmed protesting students.
We demand the setting up of an independent and democratic probe panel comprising elected representatives of students unions, staff unions, civil society and the university management to investigate the killing. We also demand adequate punishment for the police officers responsible for the killing of Peter Ofurum and adequate compensation for the families of Peter Ofurum and those injured. We call for a holistic reform in the Nigeria police, democratization of the command structure of the police and establishment of a police union so that junior officers can have the democratic right to refuse to obey orders to shot down innocent citizens.
Also, the management and government should unconditionally meet all the students’ demands for total reversal of their tuition fee, improvement in learning and living conditions, and for reversal of all anti-students and anti-poor education policies.
Finally, the ERC, FCT Abuja chapter calls on the trade unions, students unions, civil society, and pro-masses organizations to solidarize with Uniport students over this killing by organizing protests and demonstrations to demand an end to habitual police killing of students and innocent citizens.
Akande Daniel Babatunde,
Coordinator, Education Rights Campaign (ERC)
FCT, Abuja Chapter.
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