Opinion

The  Oye-Ekiti Incident: My Story

 

Yesterday, September 10th 2019, there was a crisis at Oye town in Oye
Local Government, Ekiti State, while I was on an empowerment and
advocacy tour to engage with women across the State. The tour
commenced on Monday September 9th, with visits to two local
governments which were hugely successful and peaceful.
On September 10th, we were billed to visit three local governments –
Moba, Ilejemeje and Oye. The first two stops were just like the ones
before – peaceful with no incident. While we were at Ilejemeje, we
received a call from our advance security team that students of the
Federal University of Oye (FUOYE) were protesting a lack of
electricity in Oye town. We were told that more information would be
provided on the situation. Shortly after we received word that the
students had dispersed and the coast was clear for my visit.
When my convoy got to the Oye-Isan junction, we were met by a convoy
of excited Okada riders who led us into Oye town. We made a stop at
the primary healthcare center along the road for me to present
delivery kits to pregnant women. There was no sign of any trouble. We
proceeded to the venue of my town hall meeting at the civic center
with women in Oye Local Government. The atmosphere was very peaceful,
the women were singing and dancing and there was nothing to indicate
that anything was amiss. I stopped at the tent erected for the mobile
health clinic in front of the civic center to greet the elderly
patients who were being attended to, and I also went to greet the
beneficiaries of the Food Bank for the elderly project (Ounje Arugbo),
who were assembled under another tent. I then proceeded into the hall
for the program.
Half-way through our event, there was a disturbance outside. The FUOYE
students (and possibly infiltrated by local thugs) had re-grouped and
were trying to get into the venue. The security officers prevented
this from happening. We finished our program, and by the time we got
outside, we found that vehicles from my convoy and those of my guests
that were parked outside the venue had been vandalised. As we were
driving out of Oye town, we encountered at least two road blocks that
the students had mounted to prevent the movement of vehicles. I could
see students/thugs throwing stones and large sticks at us as we drove
by.
However, the casualties that were recorded did not take place while I
was there. There are eye-witnesses, photographs and video footage to
confirm this.
There are reports circulating that the crisis occurred because I
refused to address the protesting students. This is totally false. I
did not encounter any group of students when I got to Oye town. They
had dispersed before my arrival, and when they regrouped I was inside
the venue. It is possible, as I stated earlier, that the group that
came to the venue trying to gain access with sticks and stones in hand
might have included local hoodlums, but there was no way of telling
the difference.
I am scandalized and shocked beyond words to hear that I instructed
security officers to shoot at students.

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