By Appolos Christian
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) on Thursday called for an investigation into the killing of her member Comrade Okonye Steve Nduka, a lecturer with the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Imo state, who was killed by the armed men from the 211 Regiment of the Nigeria Airforce Base in Naze in the state.
ASUP in a statement by its Zone D Coordinator, Comrade Precious Nwakodo, also asked for the relocation of the Air Force Base currently located close to the institution, saying that excesses of the soldiers in the said Base have been a constant source of conflict within the Polytechnic community.
Comrade Nwakodo who described the death of the lecturer as a loss to his family and the country, went on to demand adequate compensation for the family members of the dead to hello cushion the hardship brought to them as a result of the gruesome murder of their breadwinner.
“The Zonal secretariat of ASUP Zone D has received reports of the killing of a member of the Union from Federal Polytechnic Nekede Comrade Okonye Steve Nduka at about 7 p.m on the 25th of January, 2021 at Naze area of Owerri.
“The killing of Comrade Okonye who was until his death, a lecturer at the Computer Science department of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede was reportedly carried out by armed men suspected to be from the 211 Regiment group Air Force Base in Neze, Owerri.
“Comrade Okonye was reportedly gunned down by the trigger happy men along with an ex-student of the same Polytechnic as they were on their way back from a church programme.
“The killing of our member is a brutal reminder of the stained reputation of security agents in the country, particularly in the area of extrajudicial killings. The statement, said.
The Union further also frown at excuses of mistaken identity as presented by some reports, saying that Comrade Okonye and the other occupants of his vehicle were unarmed and never resisted arrest when the trigger happy Airforcemen pointed guns at them.
“The killing of Comrade Okonye, a budding academic by these men cannot be swept under the carpet as the Polytechnic community, as well as the people of Ukwuani in Delta State, have been robbed of the contributions of this young comrade to society particularly in his area of professional competence.
“The Union is therefore calling on the government to institute a full scale “no holds barred” investigation into the killing of our comrade and his friend through an investigative panel, the unveiling of these gunmen and their prosecution to serve as a deterrent to others who are in the business of molesting and killing harmless unarmed citizens for fun.
“This shall also serve to save the society from the continued menace of the unprofessionalism of these men who have turned the same citizens they are paid to protect, to hunting games.
“The Union is equally demanding compensation to the families of our fallen comrade and his friend as the families have been deprived of their breadwinners in such avoidable and unacceptable circumstances.
“ASUP also calling for the relocation of the 211 Regiment group, Air Force base currently located close to the institution as the excesses of the soldiers have been a constant source of the conflict between the soldiers and the Polytechnic community. We are convinced that the current location of the base and its proximity to the Polytechnic community is an error that must be corrected to forestall future killings as the soldiers have on several occasions have been reported to have overstepped their bounds by molesting citizens without provocation.
“The Union will continue to demand justice to be served these errant gunmen reportedly operating as officers of the Nigerian Airforce from the 211 Regiment Group, as the safety of lives and property of our members, can no longer be guaranteed with such armed men operating freely within the community”. ASUP, demanded.