Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Values Orientation, Muyiwa Olumilua, on Wednesday expressed regret at the deaths recorded during the protest over incessant blackouts at Federal University Oye-Ekiti Ekiti State o Tuesday.
Up to four students were shot dead by a mobile policeman on the convoy of Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, the wife of Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi,during her advocacy tour of parts of the state.
The students, who were protesting incessant blackouts caused by Benin Electricity Distribution Company, had blocked Ifaki-Ikole-Omuo Road.
Policemen in her convoy then opened fire on the students, provoking a deadly clash which left four students and a security agent dead.
A police patrol van was also burnt and some vehicles in the convoy were damaged while journalists and aides of the governor’s wife sustained varying degrees of injury.
In a statement, Olumilua said: “The Government of Ekiti State hereby confirms that the convoy of the First Lady of the State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, was attacked during a protest by students of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti on Tuesday.
Whilst acknowledging that the protest might have started as a peaceful one, there was an escalation to violence, possibly due to infiltration by hoodlums.
Erelu Fayemi was in Oye Local Government in continuation of her community engagement and advocacy tour of the state. She had commenced the Tuesday’s tour from Moba Local Government and had visited Ilejemeje Local Government before arriving in Oye-Ekiti for the last leg of the tour.
The students had earlier in the day taken over major streets in the town, protesting against the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), over power outage in the area. Government was not petitioned nor alerted of this plight prior to the protest.
The convoy of the Wife of the Governor was attacked with several vehicles vandalised, leaving many people, including journalists, with varying degrees of injuries.
Those injured during the attack have been given first aid treatment, while some are still receiving treatment in the hospital.
While not denying the students the right to express their grievances on any issue, it is expected that such be done without resulting to violence.
Ekiti State Government has been informed that there might have been casualties recorded during the incident. We await more details of this sad development from the school authorities. Nothing is worth the loss of any life.
As a responsible government, it is on record that the State Government has been engaging the electricity company (BEDC) on how to improve the power situation in parts of the State, long before this unfortunate incident, and promise to continue to engage them on the improvement of their service delivery to Ekiti State.
The general public is hereby advised to go about their normal activities as the situation is now under control.”
Meanwhile, the school has been shut indefinitely while the police say they have recovered a rifle allegedly seized from a police escort.
In a statement, the school said: “Following the unfortunate incident acted out by some youths in Oye Ekiti earlier today, the authorities of the Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) hereby announces the immediate and indefinite closure of the university to forestall further breakdown of law and order.”
The police also said no student was shot by the escorts of the governor’s wife.
The students have already provided a picture of one of the escorts shooting directly at students.
The policeman was eventually cornered and lynched by the urate crowd.