LOUD WHISPERS: Setting The Record Straight

On Monday September 9th, I began the Obirinkete Tour, for the purposes of advocacy, community engagement and empowerment in all the sixteen local governments of Ekiti State. The first two visits on Monday went according to plan -hugely successful and peaceful. On Tuesday 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 group 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. The fumes from teargas used outside the hall wafted in, causing a lot of discomfort, particularly to the elderly people who were there. We finished the 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. I was not aware that the situation outside was so bad. A number of the women who were with me were wandering around, looking for their drivers/vehicles. I advised them to jump into any available vehicle. 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. Reports indicate that the face-off with the students and police continued after we left, with tragic results. 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. I could not believe that it is possible for anyone to think or say that I would do such a terrible thing.

On Tuesday morning, as I was driving past my office in Ado-Ekiti, a group of women were gathered there to protest. They are members of a Female Sweepers Association, who were protesting a cut in their monthly salary by the previous administration. They wanted me to help them. They were polite and pleasant. I listened to them and promised to pass on their message to the appropriate authorities. These two protests happened on the same day. If I had met a group of protesting students, as a social justice activist myself, I would have listened to their complaints and addressed them. I firmly believe in citizens’ rights to protest on issues of concern.

I am deeply saddened that students died, as a mother my heart bleeds. All these students are my children, and no mother prays to weep over their offspring. Dear students of Federal University Oye, I sympathise with you from the bottom of my heart. What happened to your late colleagues was terrible, and I am sure the authorities concerned will get to the root of the matter, I too do not expect less. Please know that whatever you heard from those pushing this terrible narrative is not true. I extend my sincere condolences to the families concerned, and I wish those who are still receiving treatment a speedy recovery. The Obirinkete Tour has been suspended pending a review of what transpired. I thank friends and all members of the public who have expressed concern over this. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.

 

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

 

 

 

Sign up for Updates

14 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Setting The Record Straight

  1. Veronica Imaseun September 13, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    I trust you. I love you. I saw all the works on Above Whispers social media platforms. Leave those social media stupid ones alone. Just continue your good works mama.

    Reply
  2. Lola Adeola September 13, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    May their souls rest in peace but then, it is not your fault mama. We love you. We stand by you. I am not moved by their stupid rants on twitter. I have been following AW since and I know what you are capable of. Ma, keep rising. Keep moving. They will alright last last.

    Reply
  3. Victor Udoh September 13, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Please, rest. You don’t need all the stress. Just rest and allow those political touts to display their stupidity online. Your fans are way more than your haters.

    Reply
  4. Maryam Suleiman September 13, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I don’t understand why the so-called students will be throwing stones, bottles. I saw the video online and I was appalled. I cannot even imagine how people think and they are supposedly educated people. It is such a pity. Erelu, we love you and we stand with you.

    Reply
  5. Akorede September 13, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    That FUOYE has always been a place of unrest and this is because the students dont’ have sense and this is not the fault of anyone but of the students who are just irresponsible. I am not even going to say I am happy with all of this or that I can imagine how you feel but please, take things easy ma. Just allow these children of anger of to do their rubbish!

    Reply
  6. Olakunle Olajide September 13, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    My question is why should students who claim to be educated protest with sticks, stones, machetes and the likes? I was not there and I know how social media can be used to paint wrong informations..But after following Erelu for some years now through her website, I can say this is a sabotage on a well thought advocacy for women of Ekiti. Just like in the movies, I am stunned this could have gone this length to taking of lives. My condolences to the family of the demise but a thorough investigation needs to be done…Erelu, I can’t know what you are going through but I understand what it means to have something good in heart turned sour..Please hold on, mostly for the lives you will surely still change for the better in the nearest future.

    Reply
  7. Femi Diipo September 15, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    I was enthusiastically following the obinrinkete tour program and it’s been such an exciting and very progressive program for the Èkìtì women and girls generally. Sadly a brilliant and innovative phenomenon has been marred by this unfortunate event. In almost all protests in Nigeria, even when organized with the best of intentions there are always these hoodlums that see it as an avenue for violence, disruption and destruction and this definitely wasn’t an exception.
    Certainly, there is no way you could have even suggested the killing of students talk less of commanding it ma’am and truth will prevail in this matter as with every other. Please continue to make impacts and touch lives as you’ve always been doing, posterity will never forget your good works Erelu.

    Reply
  8. Mr Lukman September 16, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Mama. Just continue your good works, they can only hate. They cannot truimph.

    Reply
  9. Mr Lukman September 16, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    Mama. Just continue your good works, they can only hate. They cannot triumph.

    Reply
  10. Olatide Omojola September 16, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    We are right behind you. We love you and that cannot change.

    Reply
  11. Olujimi Femi September 16, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    you don’t need to explain, we know you. we love you.

    Reply
  12. DSEED September 19, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    It is that the students or the school don’t have a student union that can handle the protest even if they feel to have one? And how earth will she ordered the security to shoot back at them? They can all see the result to there unreasonable act. May the soul of the departed rest in peace.

    Reply
  13. Eric Onuoha September 30, 2019 at 7:47 am

    So sad for the students who lost their lives. Keep up the good work

    Reply
  14. Olakunle Olajide October 3, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Happy New Month everyone.. Sincerely, I have missed Loudwhispers. I have really missed reading topics that are well elucidated with your mode of writing..

    Please come back soon ma’am..

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of new posts by email.