The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has condemned the killing of four students of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, by armed soldiers . The students were killed by the soldiers who were mobilized to the area to stop further breakdown of law and order by the students who were protesting the persistent scarcity of clean water in and around the school campus.
The group said the killing amounts to grave crimes against humanity which must not go unpunished.
It therefore called on the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, to immediately commence independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the deployment of armed soldiers by the state government to unleash a regime of violence on peaceful protesting students of the Nasarawa state University.
In a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA asked the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Onyeagbor Ihejerika to explain to Nigerians the rationale behind the deployment of armed soldiers to quell a peaceful demonstration by unarmed students, that now resulted to their gruesome murder and to immediately identify and hand over the indicted soldiers to the relevant law enforcement agency for immediate prosecution in a competent court of law.
“This is a sad commentary on Nigeria’s democracy and marks a turning point which signposts that Government may be plotting to emasculate the fundamental freedoms belonging to the citizenry that are inherent and inviolable especially as tension builds up over the excruciating economic condition in Nigeria brought about by corruption and misgovernance by all levels of government in Nigeria”, it said.
“We in the human rights community will be disappointed if the Nigerian National Human Rights Commission fails to use its new found independence and operational power to probe the brutal killing by armed soldiers of peaceful demonstrators in this era of democracy when it was clear that the lives of the soldiers did not come under any threat since the protesting students merely carried placards and fresh tree leaves”.
“How come the Nigeria Police that ought to maintain law and order were not deployed to ensure that the students demonstration was peaceful? If at any time external hoodlums sabotage the protest then why didn’t use the police? with plastic bullets or water canons, wouldn’t they have dispersed the demonstrators if they turn rowdy and out of control?”