Human RightsNews

Nigerian Soldiers Open Fire, Disperse Students Protesting Academic Strike

Some soldiers attacked students protesting against lecturers’ strike in Ondo, Southwest Nigeria, after over three months of academic activities being truncated across Nigerian universities.

A protest by some Nigerian students against the protracted strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was dispersed by soldiers of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday, May 17, in Akure, Ondo State capital, Southwest Nigeria

HumAngle learnt that the students who occupied the Akure-Ilesha highway Tuesday morning were dispersed by the soldiers who fired gunshots. Similar protests against ASUU strike have been held in different states of the country including Lagos, Osun, Edo, and Oyo.

According to one of the protesters, Kehinde Adeoye, some students were injured during the stampede that followed but no life was lost. 

“We were protesting at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) gate and there was a hold up, making it difficult for vehicles to move,” Adeoye told HumAngle over phone. 

“The soldiers were among those held in the traffic. They came down to realise that the reason for the traffic was students’ protest and they started shooting. Nobody died but many people sustained injuries.”

The vehicle of soldiers who opened  fire on protesters. Photo: Twitter

HumAngle contacted Onyema Nwachukwu, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, for comment on Tuesday’s incident but he did not respond to our reporter’s call. He was also yet to respond to text messages sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, Tee-Leo Ikoro,  the spokesperson of the Ondo State Police Command, confirmed the incident, saying “it was the military men that dispersed students.” 

Soldiers and officers of Nigeria Police often fire live bullets to disperse protesters in Nigeria despite peaceful protest being a fundamental human right in the country. 

Protesters were shot and killed during popular #ENDSARS protest against the  extra-judicial killings and other irregularities by operatives of the now disbanded police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Oct. 2020.

Soldiers dispersing protesters in Akure. Photo: Twitter

Members of ASUU have been on strike for over three month over what leadership of the academic union described as the failure of the government to meet its demands. The  demands are the replacement of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for the payment of its members salaries and other entitlements.

ASUU also emphasised its preference for the adoption of the May 2021 drafted agreement on the ASUU-Federal government renegotiation of the 2009 agreement which was drafted by the defunct Munzali Jibril-led renegotiation committee.

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Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

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