Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
There is palpable tension in Jos, Plateau State as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Equity International Initiative (EII), Social Justice (SJ), and Nigerian Youths announced plans to protest the killing of Mr. Rinji Peter Bala, a 300 level student of the University of Jos allegedly by a personnel of the military Special Task Force (STF).
The march which was billed to hold yesterday, was deferred after government and security chiefs in the state warned that the exercise might be hijacked by hoodlums to perpetrate violence in the state.
The groups are protesting the gruesome killing of the student by trigger-happy personnel of the Special Task Force (STF) who shot the student at a close range killing him on the spot.
Rinji, was arrested together with his friends who had paid him a visit and were returning home during a lockdown hour. They were taken to a military post along Zaria Road, Jos where they were tortured and eventually released.
As they were leaving, after their release, one of the operatives attached to the sector allegedly pulled out his gun and shot at the boys killing Rinji.
Confirming the killing, the spokesman of the Task Force, Major Ibrahim Shittu regretted the unfortunate death of the student. In a statement, Shittu said that the boys were arrested by Sector 1 patrol troops of the Task Force and moved to the sector for preliminary investigation. “Thereafter, five out of the seven of them were cleared and asked to leave the premises.
“Unfortunately as they were leaving the premises, one of the personnel on sentry duty mistook them for escaping suspects, thus opened fire on them, which led to the death of Mr. Rinji Bala.”
He added that a thorough investigation had commenced to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding that the personnel involved in the incident had been arrested and detained accordingly.
But the state Chairman of NBA, Barrister Yakubu Bawa, and Country Director of EII, Mr. Chris Iyama, have given a seven-day ultimatum to the STF to give the full identity of the culprit and hand him over for prosecution for killing an innocent Nigerian youth, condemning the action as animalistic and barbaric.
Bawa said, “No one has the right to take a human life in such a manner; it is extra-judicial. The personnel must answer for his wrong doing; some of them are under the influence of drugs. The security persons whose duties are to protect life are the same killing the people.”
Iyama demanded that the culprit be tried in the civil court and the process be made transparent.
Rinji’s uncle, Mr. Dewan, who spoke for the deceased family, regretted the death of his nephew. He said though the family has forgiven the culprit, justice has to take its course to serve as deterrent.