Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Armed robbers on Thursday night invaded Obafemi Awolowo Hall, which houses female undergraduate and postgraduate students in the University of Ibadan.
The invaders reportedly stormed the hall at 1:30a.m., and operated for about 30 minutes. They went from one room to the other, and collected personal belongings of the female students such as phones and laptops.
The armed robbers, said to be seven in number, reportedly scaled the fence at that back of Block C of the hall, before they gained access into the hall.
When Saturday Sun visited the hostel on Friday, some of the female students said power supply to the hall was restored when the armed robbers arrived the hall and was off when they left, adding that it was not the first time such a thing would happen in the hall. One of the female students, who said she is in 600-Level, said the most recent event made it the fourth one since she got to the institution.
The invaders reportedly carted away dozens of phones and laptops belonging to the students at gunpoint.
Two among the female students were injured. One has machete cut on her forehead while the other one probably suffered dislocation when she jumped from first floor to the ground floor in an attempt to escape.
One of the security guards attached to the hostel was said to have been tied with ropes. The robbers were said to have raped some of the female students. But the allegation was punctured by the students themselves and the management of the institution, who said none of students was raped.
But the fear that gripped the female students could literarily be cut with a knife as the hoodlums threatened that they would come back to the hostel again to rob them.
The female student that sustained injury on her forehead is Miss Esther Adebiyi, who is in 400-Level in the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science. She told journalists: “Early this morning around 1:30a.m., or thereby, some guys came to the hall. They were running around the hall. What they were say was that ‘MOPOL GUYS’ as if mobile police personnel were chasing them. You would not really know that they came to raid the hall.
“So, they went though the ground floor. I was in my room upstairs. My roommates ran out immediately. But I was thinking security people were trying to chase them. I did not know they were even close to my room.”
She said the door was forced opened, saying she was in shock as she stood beside the door. One of the armed robbers that came to her room asked her to lie down and “I lied down flat on the floor. He asked if there was something in my room and I said, there was nothing. Then, I have my laptop and my phone on the bed which he did not see. Unfortunately, as he stepped out, he just peeped through the door and he saw my laptop and my phone, he came back to the room. He carried my laptop and my phone.
“I went on my kneel, begging him not to go away with my laptop and my phone. I told him my I.T Report was in the laptop. As I was begging him, he brought out something from his bag and hit me with it on my head. Blood came out and I went to the school clinic. The wound was stitched.”
Another female masters student in the Department of Zoology, who did not want her name mentioned in print, said the hoodlums stormed the hostel at about 1:30a.m. She said she heard loud noise in the hostel and people ran helter skelter.
“I did not know what was happening and I continued with my sleep. Then, some minutes to 2a.m., a guy came to my window and said ‘Stupid woman. What kind of stupid sleep is this one? Your room is the next we are coming to and you are still sleeping stupidly. Were you sent to school to sleep?’
“I did not have credit and I could not call anybody. What I did was that I switched on my data. I started sending messages on WhatsApp that people should please come tobl our rescue because armed robbers were in the hostel, and currently in front of my room.
“All of a sudden, another guy came to the window and said ‘If we are able to come into your room, your life will be wasted.’ I was naked and I had to quickly dress up immediately. Maybe God touched the heart of one of them, who told me that his gang members had said they would waste my life if they had opportunity to come into my room. Then, I started crawling till I got to the porter’s lounge.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr. Shina Olukolu, and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof Kayode Adebowale, as well as Chief Security Officer of UI were among early callers to the scene of the crime.
Olukolu, who spoke to journalists at the state police headquarters on the incident, said: “It was true that security of that hostel was breached this (yesterday) morning. But the fact of the matter was itbwas a foiled attempt. Foiled attempt in the sense that the police and the security personnel of the school were all together there. What we discovered was that it was dark and it was bushy.
“The Commissioner of Police, to show the importance attached to that incidence, visited the scene and has advised the school accordingly.
“However, we want to assure you that we have a very vital lead and that lead is being worked upon for those who breached the security of the place.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof Kayode Adebowale, said the situation has been put under control and efforts have been made to forestall recurrence of the incident.
He said one of the robbers forgot his phone, which has been handed over to the police for investigation, adding that no student was raped.
Adebowale stated: “We had some reports that some people were peddling concerning an unforseen event that happened in one of our female halls. Some of them were carrying rumours that some of students have been raped. That is not correct. Those are fake news.
“What happened was that some few minutes after 1a.m., some people came to Olafemi Awolowo Hall that houses postgraduates and undergraduate students.
“According to the University of Ibadan security staff that were there, they said there were about seven of them that came. They jumped into the hall. Apparently, they did not come to harm anybody. Probably, they were just looking for some of the things, which they wanted to cart away.
“When I got the report around 1:30am, I went there with the Chief Security Officer, and some of the university staff that were working. We met the students outside and we tried as much as possible to douse the tension.
“But before we got there, there were two students that were injured; the one that was wounded in the head was taken to our health service at Jaja and she has since been discharged. The other one jumped and I think she has dislocation, not fractures. We also heard information that the security guard was tied down. When we came he was untied.
“So, we phoned the Commissioner of Police. The police came, even Operation Burst came so that we would be able to assure the students that everything was under control.
“The Commissioner of Police came this (yesterday) morning to discuss with us on the event and we were lucky because one of the people that came left his phone behind. So, the phone has been handed over to the police, and I know that investigation is on. So, everything is calm and peaceful in all of our halls.”
Asked on the efforts that would be put in place to prevent such invasion in the future, Adebowale said: “We have always been conscious. It is one of our halls that is very close to the boundary of the university with the polytechnic. We have even raised the perimetre fence.”
He said the fence would be raised further and complemented with security wire on top of the fence “to prevent anyone from coming. We want to do a complete perimetre fencing of the entire Hall. The number of security guards we have is not much. But we have ensured that five security men have been manning that hall every night.”
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