19 Hours After Denying Casualties at Pla-Poly Peaceful Protest, Dan Manjang Admits that One Student was Killed
Written by Johnstone Kpilaakaa on September 21, 2021
On Monday, students of the Plateau State Polytechnic, Jos Campus took to the streets of the Jos Metropolis to protests the abrupt postponement of their semester examination due to an industrial action that was commenced by a staff union in the Polytechnic.
Reacting to social media posts that alleged casualty resulted when security operatives opened fire on the peaceful protesters, Dan Manjang, the Plateau State Commissioner in a press statement tagged; ‘the imbroglio at the Plateau State Polytechnic” said that, “contrary to news making the rounds in the social media, no casualty has been recorded. However, some students sustained injuries and have been taken to the hospital and are responding to treatment.”
However, 19 hours after the statement was published on the Government of Plateau state official Facebook page, Mr Manjang issued another statement to update and debunk his previous claims.
He said, ‘the Government has today regrettably received the sad news from the Police of the death of one of the students who was said to have been hit by a stray bullet and taken to hospital for treatment but could not survive.’
According to him, as at the time of publishing the previous statement, no death was reported.
The statement further said, ‘while commiserating with the family of the deceased student, the Government assures that it will not spare anyone found culpable in the death of the student as it is determined to ensure that justice is done. Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor has directed a Government delegation to visit the family of the deceased student to sympathise with them over the sad and unfortunate situation.’
Meanwhile, he did not state when this student died even though he mentioned that the deceased was taken to the hospital for medical attention after he was hit by a stray bullet.
This “update of the Plateau Polytechnic” has raised questions as regards the Governor’s office being that of the Chief Security of the State who is privy to security role and the responsibility of Mr Manjang as the spokesperson of the executive arm of Plateau state.
On the other hand, some members of the general public are curious as to why live ammunition would be fired at peace protesters in order to disperse them to “vacate the road and restore normalcy”
Shedrach Pewan, a social media user who reacted to the recent update made by the Commissioner said, “so sad, why use bullets on armless students? This crisis could have been avoided if the government had listened to the unions. So much blood is shed unnecessarily”
Meanwhile, another social media user, Ukah John left a piece of advice for the state government stating that “I think before you make Press Statement of this such a proper investigation should take place first, yesterday you said different thing and today another thing”
Recall that in 0ctober 2020, members of the Nigerian Army opened fire on peaceful End SARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos State, Nigeria. Amnesty International stated that at least 12 peaceful protesters were killed during the shooting. A day after the incident, on 21 October, the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-olu, initially denied reports of any loss of lives, but later admitted in an interview with a CNN journalist that “only two persons were killed”