Students protest in Ekiti, allege selective anti-corruption war
• NYCN, NANS dissociate selves from rally
• NLC hinges fight success on payment of workers’ salaries
Commercial and social activities were temporarily halted in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital yesterday as students from various higher institutions protested against alleged victimisation of Governor Ayodele Fayose by the Federal Government.
They demanded immediate de-freezing of his personal account by the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) and warned the agency to stop harassing members of the opposition party.
Apparently, yesterday’s protest was a reaction to the one organised by some civil society groups, including the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) last Friday where they condemned the alleged financial prolificacy of the governor.
The students, who stormed major streets in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, criticised President Muhammadu Buhari and the EFCC for victimising Fayose in order to silence the opposition in the country.
They, therefore, urged the EFCC to prosecute the anti-graft war with holistic mind, alleging that the fight has been selective considering the personalities that had been arrested by the commission and facing charges in courts.
Besides, a chieftain of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, has said that the anti-corruption campaign by the Federal Government could not be sustained when workers do not receive adequate salaries on time and also living in poverty across the country.
The Labour chief, who spoke yesterday during a Ramadan lecture and the foundation laying of a mosque in honour of his wife, the late Hamdalat Aremu, said: “When Nigerian workers are well paid, then employers can demand for increased productivity and discipline.
“A hungry worker is not only angry but vulnerable to graft. There is a link between economic growth and wage payment. A well-paid motivated worker will definitely be a productive worker.”
Addressing the crowd of students that participated in the pro-Fayose rally, a student leader, Mr. Olajide Adebayo, said the current fight against corruption by Buhari’s government was skewed against the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“The freezing of Governor Fayose’s account was wrongly done. He enjoyed immunity under Section 308 of the Constitution and for EFCC to have done this, was tantamount to victimisation and persecution.
“The entire students’ body will continue to support Governor Fayose. We are behind him because he is a man of the people. He is doing well for us in Ekiti. He represents the voice of the voiceless and we are very proud of him”, he said.
Meanwhile, NANS and National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) have dissociated themselves from the rally, saying every Nigerian must join hands with the EFCC to rid the country of graft.
A statement signed by NANS Chairman, Ekiti axis, Mr. Shina Awopeju, however, appealed to the EFCC to fight corruption within the purview of the law, saying acting extra-judicial may heat up the polity and derail the current democratic dispensation.
Awopeju lamented that the body had earlier asked the governor to reduce tax levelled on the public and private schools in Ekiti and provide residential buildings in state-owned tertiary institutions as well as ensuring regular payment of salaries.