A few days from the just concluded one- memorial service of the massacre of peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate by the Nigerian government, the case of police brutality and militarized onslaught on innocent citizens have been unabated.

Sadly, yesterday, one of our comrades, Juliana Martin, was shot and she is currently undergoing treatment at the military hospital in Benin.

The incident which occurred at the headquarters of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Commission (NPDC), in Benin City, had peaceful protesters from Niger Delta Student Union Government and Ijaw Youth Council shot at by the police force.

The protester, according to the report, were demanding better welfare after the company’s management failed to fulfill their promise.

The MSA considers this act by the police and the NPDC management as a violation of the right to life and the democratic right to engage in a peaceful protest.

Sadly, this demonstrated that in a country supposedly democratic, the lives of innocent poor working- citizens are not guaranteed. And raises the question of democracy under a system supposedly built on making a profit out of those that barely have. And subsequently,  employing the machinery of the state to repress agitations.

Most of the protesters, from reports, were mainly students and youths within the Niger Delta Community and had conducted themselves peacefully, without any provocation whatsoever.

However,  is this the Petroleum Industrial Act 2021 “new order” of corporate governance? Are Nigerians now to expect a free reign and use of terror against them by the government as part of its business-environment drive initiative?  Is the NPDC not so established to meet the welfare needs of members from the Niger Delta, and are students not a sub-section of such a component?

What is NPDC hiding, is it that funds have been mismanaged or diverted, and that social concerns are now off the radar of the commission?

The MSA demands that the NPDC comes clean on this particular incident and that the MD, Ali Muhammad Zarah be held accountable for this terrible and condemnable incident.

We insist on a panel of inquiry that will include student representatives to investigate the incident and all involved in this perpetration, brought to book.

We look forward to your media outfit reporting this event.

Thanks for your anticipation.


Dagga Tolar