Ahead of September 23, 2016, was a fun time on campus, when an administrator received a message from the terrorist group – Bokoharam – that they would invade the institution and kill everyone against western education. This information flew around just like it did in 2011 and we were all braced up for the defence: to kill and send the terrorists to hell. It sounded to me like some touts coming to invade the institution, but the reality dawned when I saw posters of Bokoharam terrorists on the wall of UI-Ajibode extension gate and the main gate respectively (probably, a copy was on the second gate). Everyone started imagining how it would be if this happens and what would be done individually – some had to run home. There wasn’t supposed to be a remedy from our sides as we don’t belong to any intelligent unit with security tools. As part of the measure, all cars were stopped, checked in and out, top and bottom along with passengers with a certain detective instrument. Only cars were stopped, including the transport cars and private cars, but the pedestrians got their bags checked. During this period, students, shop owners couldn’t escape the lateness, while some students even found it more punctual to trek than to use a taxicab. It was a tough time that everyone had to bear the brunt of security measure. This process was continued until a few months when the security men got tired. The time for gate closure was suspended from 9 pm for cars and bikes and 10 pm for pedestrians but was later reduced with time, which became a fuss between passersby and the gatekeepers because no one got the information before the implementation.
It was embarrassing for passersby who had to be checked within this hot time: people who carried their gadgets were asked for their passwords to confirm ownership and some were asked to provide receipts for their properties which was, in reality, impossible, while some had their clothes and properties spread and exposed. It took a long time for people to tread the path in peace, but nothing was said to why the check had to stop. The pictures of the terrorists were there, laying on the wall, probably still on the watch, and the CCTV was also positioned but not trusted.
These security men would not have been bought over for doing such a risky assignment, just as the Nigerian police became the enemy of the nation during the recent revolutionary movement, without even having a pistol. Fervent in their business, without a single weapon and armed with some weak rods, they took the assignment up and people marvelled at their display as if a terrorist with a chip under his moustache can be nabbed with a look.
Many other ways were not taken note of by the school management. For example, the Ona River around Veterinary medicine faculty, which linked Ajibode with the campus, is so deflowered that its privacy can house a multitude of giant feet. For years, this river has been a passageway for whoever is not opportune to have his way through Ajibode extension gate and anyone living near. With no security measure in sight, except a small building situated with a fan rolling on its own and an empty presence, any hoodlum could have entered and had his way. During seasons of rain, when the river is filled up, any passerby still finds it easier to manoeuvre. The botanical garden is not just a fine route, but a safer one for anyone to commit an atrocity. The botanical garden, beyond being a site for bourgeois views, is safer, even for terror to take place. With the metal-fence around it, elements of destruction can still reside around because, on the other side, where it is thought bushes can protect the open, only hoodlums are protected.
The UI-poly gate is episodic. Theft attacks have been launched on Uites from this route, but the institution acts like nothing is happening. This is not an agitation of “Ali-mon-go” fifty kobo, but for the safety of lives and properties of everyone. Even the fence at Ajibode-extension gate only extends to a few millimetres. Several ways have exposed this campus to any form of danger talk of the creeks around Fisheries department up to St. Annes.
With the present insecurity on campus, simple solutions have to be adopted, instead of making further porosities.
Before the Queen Elizabeth Hall elections in 2017, supporters of particular aspirants, who were desperate to make their friend win, took over the wall of the Hall of residence. They came into the hall, and the aspirant welcomed them, then quietly introduced them to residents, and the campaign went quietly. Everyone can be a thief, but whoever gets caught by the wake is the thief. Behind Queen Elizabeth Hall, they came quietly and left quietly without harming anyone. This was in the midnight.
The July 12 robbery at Awolowo Hall happened in the midnight, July 22 theft at the same hall also happened when everyone was about to sleep, even with the deployment of security men. Boys were informed to distant themselves from the Hall once it is 10 pm. So on August 11, 2019, after several claims by the authority that “the University is safe”, seven armed men came, paired in two, descended in the midnight, around 2am to 3am, on the female students of Abdulsalam postgraduate Hall, and raided the first and second floors with machetes, unperturbed. The bad news says that two people had cut on the head and hand respectively, but when some postgraduate students were approached, they said “it was just mere robbery, everywhere is cool”, confirming that it was nothing to bother about.
Observations exist to be reported, and if anyone defies goodwill messages, it is proper to tie a rope of stones and throw him to the river. The institution would probably return to her peace after every head is cut or after Zikites launch an angry attack on robbers. The school management should not expect less from Zikites, for no witch will not live.
Taking note of the security measures after the assessment of three halls, the Vice-Chancellor thinks male visitors should be prohibited from entering Female Halls, Male visitors are to be received outside, Female visitors should be screened at the Porters’ lodge and all male visitors are to leave the precincts of the halls by 8:30 pm and anyone found loitering will be regarded as a suspect.
WE HAVE SOLUTIONS, BUT WE ARE AFRAID OF SDC
Part of what spices the society is the youth and their inclusion, no matter the contribution. The University is porous enough for anyone to not think of self-defence. It is no news that theft has been the order on campus, and when it becomes the norm, it will escalate and become a company. Some student leaders have tried their best in addressing this issue, but why students, who are always affected would not make the voice is because of the threat of disciplinary action. Some students prefer to be silent than be referenced if the authority asks for pieces of advice. The last orientation program organized by the University, specifically 2016/17 session, created a meditation for fresh students that “the fear of SDC is the beginning of wisdom.” It became a question of what the Students Disciplinary Council stands for. Many of us have even defended it tirelessly until we had no lie to make again. This molehill has no mountain to build any more and if this fear continues, the institution would have no feedback and no progress would be recorded except lies.
As much as SDC is important in creating orderliness and avoiding riotous or some unbecoming acts to survive on campus, the negative side is drawing the institution backwards unless students are legally in the decision making.
The least of the punishment which can be reeled to a student is on section 11 of the students’ handbook which is “gross misconduct”, but has no interpretation. It has become a net, where any student that speaks in the reverse against the mind of the authority, even if he has committed no offence is caged. If the University exists in teaching character and learning, what has it benefited from expelling students without character and learning? You cannot expect your child to learn amidst the crowd of confusion when you’ve not succeeded in your own teaching.
“Who will go?” This reminds me of how our Lord came to suffer for our sins. He forsook himself and visited the wicked world. With the great crown on him, he put it off and sacrificed himself. This is the question we always ask and no one can answer, why? Because of fear of SDC which is, in essence, not supposed to be the beginning of wisdom.
INSECURITY IN THE OFFICE OF THE VICE CHACELLOR
Professor Olayinka received a supposed “student-entrepreneur” on July 31, 2019, who pleaded that he be patronized by the Vice-chancellor, as reported by his media aide, Mr. Sunday Saanu. He was received with the kind heart of the authority, welcome in his office and introduced himself as Kareem Babatunde, a 300 level student of Animal science department who resides on Sultan Bello Hall, with his shoemaking business. After telling his story about his passion for this business, he was told to make his (Professor Olayinka) shoe size and admonished to include entrepreneurship with academics. Throughout this conversation, the Vice-Chancellor was not aware that a non-students had introduced himself as a student. Kareem had been withdrawn from the University since 2016/2017 academic session along with the 408 withdrawn students and the school cannot even trace him? This is how insecurity creeps in, clothed in all humility.
What is worth doing is worth doing well. The cases of robbery on campus do not just dwell in the halls of residence. It has been repeatedly said that robbery has been the norm on boys’ quarters on campus. No one is a target in this, and it has never been except the low-security concern.
On the robbery case on August 3, 2017, on Awolowo hall, eye witness mentioned a lady among three men. On July 12 and 22, 2019 respectively, ladies were mentioned among the robbers and petty-theft incidence. It is now worrisome, that the solution to the attack on just three halls of residence, leaving others out, are that visitation by the male counterparts should be allowed outside the halls, boys are not allowed to loiter around after 8:30 pm, else would be regarded as suspects, female visitors would be screened at porters’ lodge. These are security measures in a University that prides herself as the “best”. This will not work!