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GROUPS, EKITI INDIGENES CONDEMN UNAD STUDENTS OVER VIOLENT PROTEST

By Tunji Oluwasanmi

From groups and notable indigenes of Ekiti State both home and abroad came condemnation over the yesterday violent protest embarked upon by students of the State owned University of Ado-Ekiti, (UNAD), with the Ekiti Justice Group (EJG) calling on the university authority to sanction those responsible for the protest, which it described as barbaric, uncivilised, embarrassing and unfortunate.

The EJG, in a statement issued by its Coordinator, Dr. Tunji Oluwasanmi said those, who instigated the students to such a violent protest must be fished out and treated as enemies of Ekiti, adding that; “Time has come for Ekiti people to rise with one voice against this politics of Pull-Him-Down by all means that is being played by opposition politicians in the State.”

The group, which noted that students have the rights to express their grievances against government policies, added that; “hurling stones at convoy of a serving governor and Chief of Air Staff is to say the least, evil and barbaric.”

The Ekiti Justice and Equity Movement (EJEM), in a statement issued by its Secretary, Comrade Ebenezer Olaleye commended Governor Segun Oni for the civilised manner in which the situation was handled by his security aides, saying; “Once again, Governor Oni has demonstrated his civility and love for peace. That no casualty was recorded during the protest is a further demonstration of the governor's humane and civil manner of running government.

“The governor deserves commendation because we have witnessed killing of students in this state during similar protest that was not even targeted at the sitting governor then. We have seen people killed during a mere councillorship by-election and properties worth several millions of naira destroyed by thugs led by a sitting governor during a political party rally in Ado-Ekiti here. It is on record that in just one day, nine students of College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti were killed during a peaceful demonstration, with many of them shot at close range.

“Therefore, that no casualty was recorded during the protest is enough reason for us to praise the governor for holding on to his belief in the sanctity of human lives even in the face of such an embarrassing situation.”

Apart from the two groups, others who have expressed dismay over the violent protest included a Columnist with The Nation newspaper, Mr. Femi Orebe, a business man and native of Ilogbo-Ekiti, Deji Atewologun, United States of America (USA) based Titi Adeyemo and Dele Agbede among others.

Orebe, who posted his comment through a yahoogroup, Ekitipanuposaid; “This news, if true, would be totally unfortunate. Since when did students� opposition to a government policy become the type for which stones are hauled at public officials and a governor for that matter? I think Governor Oni deserves commendation for not turning his security personnel on these misguided youngsters who have given non-Ekitis another reason to conclude that we are an uncivilised bunch of people.”

Atewologun, in his own reaction said; “Protesting a hike in tuition is not a license for violence. The students lost all senses of decency and my support once they crossed that point of civility. If these so called leaders of tomorrow cannot conduct a non-violent protest to register their grievances, what do we expect from touts, conductors, and street peddlers? Little by little, we are driving a wedge into the wheels of progress. We need to reverse this course so we can attract productive activities, investors, tourists, and peace-seeking individuals and groups instead of scaring away potential lovers of progress into our state.”

In the words of Agbede, “This is very disrespectful even though I agree with their grievance. There are better and more effective ways to register their grievance.”

Also condemning the students� action, Titi Adeyemo said; “Governor Oni is our governor. We should all stand tall and respect what he stands for. Throwing stone at our number one citizen is barbaric. UNAD kids must apologize publicly. Remember they will do worse to the next guy if not controlled now. I am not just furious but embarrassed.”