Osun students ask police to arraign officer who opened fire on colleagues

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BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

Uba Group

Some angry students of the Osun State College of Education, Ilesa (now a University) have called on the Police in the state not to delay in prosecuting a 32-year-old-man, Tolulope Falomo, who was arrested for allegedly opening fire on their colleagues during a peaceful protest.

The police in the state confirmed that three undergraduate students of the college were, on October 27, 2022, shot by Tolulope, popularly known as ‘Ifa’ while protesting against the conversion of their college to university by the state government.

The police, according to some of the students, was riding a motorcycle when he ran into the protesters.

It was gathered that the police officer, who was forced to stop at the barricade mounted by the students, brought out a gun and shot at the protesters.

One of the students, Femi Ibirogba, said, “This guy was coming from town on a motorcycle and he ran into us. He was forced to stop because we mounted a barricade. Immediately he stopped, he brought out a gun and opened fire on us. Five students were injured.”

The injured students were reportedly taken to the Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa for treatment.

The students were allegedly protesting against the secrecy that shrouded the conversion of the college to university by the state government.

A student of the English Department of the college, Segun Ibirogba, said, “We don’t know anything about the conversion of the college to a university. All we know is that the college is being converted to a university. The terms and conditions are not known to us.

“The staff union, management and student union were not carried along. The whole thing looks suspicious. The academic staff has requested for the university’s establishment law but the government could not provide it.”

A staff of the college, Bose Afolabi, accused the state government of being too political and insensitive to the plight of the workers of the institution.

Afolabi said that the action of the state government was wrong, adding, “The students are protesting against the conversion of the college to a full-fledged university which has been shrouded in secrecy.

“A lot of entries have been made to the state government to release the laws establishing the university but the government didn’t respond. Students felt agitated and they were asking a lot of questions which were not answered, so, they resulted in staging a peaceful protest.”

The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Yemisi Opalola, said that Tolulope had been arrested for shooting at some of the protesters.

“It would be recalled that on 27th October, 2022 at about 11hours while the students were on peaceful demonstration/protest, Falomo shot at the protesters with a Pump Action gun over an argument that ensued between him and the protesters and fled the scene. Three students of the institution sustained injuries on their arms and legs.

“The Police Command under the leadership of CP Faleye S. Olaleye, not resting on the quest to get the suspect apprehended, expanded its investigation and arrested him on 7th November, 2022 at Odo-Iro area, Ilesa where he was hibernating and the Pump Action gun used to perpetrate the act was recovered from him with one expended cartridge.

“The Commissioner of Police in Osun State, CP Faleye S. Olaleye, wishes to reiterate that he has come to serve. He will not relent in his efforts to rid the state of criminal elements. You will recall that in barely two weeks of his assumption of office as the Commissioner of Police, he has made tremendous achievements as many notorious criminals (over 200) have been arrested within this short period of time.

“The CP wishes to implore the good people of Osun to go about their businesses without any fear of threat, intimidation or apprehension,” the PPRO said.

“CBN"

More than a week after the suspect was arrested, the students asked the police not to sweep the matter under the carpet, stressing that they expected the command to arraign the suspect in court.

Ibirogba, said, “We are not happy that the police have been silent over this matter. It’s been more than a week that the suspect who shot us during a peaceful protest was arrested and they are yet to take him to court. Justice delayed is justice denied they say.

Therefore, we are calling on the Osun State Police Command to swiftly conclude their investigation and take the suspect to court. This is the only way the pains of our injured colleagues who are still receiving treatment would be assuaged.”

The PPRO said that she was not aware whether the suspect had been docked or not but promised to make findings about the status of the case.