It was exactly 9:00, on one Saturday morning when Titi, a 100-level student of Ekiti State University (EKSU) received the pesky news from one of her hostel mates that her room in school had been busted by unidentified burglars.
“See, there is nothing in your room again o! Your bed, all clothes, gas cylinder, plates, pots, table and chair have all been stolen,” the message from her friend.
While her mother feels a relief that Titi had completely settled in into EKSU and is left to focus on her other child, they never knew that they would be back to square one.
Titilayo is the first child of a single parent and her sister had just been admitted into another university before the ASUU strike commenced. The news she received made her down and till now, she said she doesn’t know how to break such news to her single parent.
“I don’t even know how to break this news to my mom. She is trying her best for us already and now, this problem again,” she howled…
The industrial action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has not come with a pleasure for Nigerian Students. Asides from introducing delay into the life of students and inflicting stagnancy upon businesses, some criminals have seized the strike period as an opportunity for them to invade students’ apartments, cart away their properties, and leave no trace behind.
Recall that the strike started on the 14th of February, 2022 and was made “indefinite” on the 29th of August due to the inability to reach an agreement between the federal government and the union.
Popoola Olajumoke is a final year student of Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), studying Computer Science. In January, 2022, she moved into “Robeams Hostel,” a newly built student apartment close to “Mama Funky Waters,” a sachet water factory in Oye-Ekiti.
On the 6th of September, she pleaded with her roommate who lives in Ado-Ekiti (a 40 minutes drive away from Oye) to send her some clothes in Lagos. Everything seemed fine until she opened the door and got into their room.
“Our shoes o, bags o, gas o, bed o, my friend’s box with new clothes, curtains, food stuff with the buckets I used to pack them all disappeared,” she narrated.
However, strangely, there was no breakage of the door, window or ceiling. “They probably got a key that could open the door,” she assumed.
Like Olajumoke, Opeyemi Taiwo is also another student from FUOYE. Her hostel is along the school road, not far from the ‘transformer junction’ in Oye-Ekiti. On July 28th, one of her hostel mates came around to pick something only to find the doors to their rooms open.
“On getting there, she made a video and dropped it on the group, telling us that they had bursted the whole hostel.”
The next day, Taiwo traveled down to pack her remaining possessions. However, she only found a few clothes on the floor of her room.
“I went to Amotekun and the police station to report. No outcome. The police asked me to pay 5k before doing anything and in fact they collected N1,500 before following me to my hostel to check,” she said.
Similar Tales Hit Iworoko
Just like Oye-Ekiti, Iworoko is the host community of Ekiti State University (EKSU). Here, the majority of EKSU students live outside the campus.
Fagbemi Oluwanifemi lives at Tofe Hostel not far from the school gate. Since his parents’ house is nearby, he has visited the school twice since the strike. Before the final invasion, the net covering his window was torn. He immediately reported to his caretaker.
“The second time that I came, these people have come back to steal our things. Out of 14 rooms, 11 were burgled. They packed many things including beds, clothes, foodstuffs and kitchen utensils,” he said.
Again, he reported to his caretaker but nothing was done. When asked why he never reported to the police station, he said “they would ask for money which I didn’t have.”
Students’ Union React
Reacting to the situation, Adedokun Abolore, the Public Relations Officer of the FUOYE students’ union complained that the security architecture of Oye-Ekiti is at the verge of collapsing. While calling out house owners whose profits only interest them instead of the safety of their tenants’ properties, he fears if the criminal activities will end except students return to school to monitor their belongings.
“The students Union has met with the Police Hq in Ado. We met with the commissioner of police alongside NANS Ekiti JCC leadership and other SUG presidents in Ekiti during the planning of the End ASUU strike protest and this issue of insecurity was discussed in OYE.
“Also, in August, we had a meeting at the Police Hq in Ado where the commissioner of Police was represented by the DCP. So, we are not just sleeping with our 2 eyes closed but it is disheartening that the leadership of the host communities most especially in OYE are not helping the situation. This, which is giving morale to those burglars to further continue their illegality in the town.
“As an individual I am very much concerned and saddened about this development in our University host communities: OYE and Ikole respectively. Properties worth millions of naira have been Carted away in various hostels of our members.” he added.
The students union President of EKSU
Alade Emmanuel was conteacted but he failed to respond to his messages.
Amotekun’s Efforts, Limited
The Amotekun Commandant in Oye Ekiti, Owolafe Oluwabunmi, confirmed that their unit is aware of the burglaries incident in the community as there are reported cases by students and hostel caretakers.
“We caught three teenagers recently. Two brothers and one other boy. But we left them since the victims said they were not interested in making a case. We only invited their parents but they said they never saw stolen things with them. We warned them to refrain from such acts. We have retrieved some items and kept them in our store.
“Three cases have been reported to us but there is nothing we can do until those victims resume. It is when students resume that most of them will discover that their houses have been burgled. I am even prepared that when students resume, for two weeks, we will still be solving cases.
“We go on patrols around Oye every night but you know, we only have a vehicle and we can’t be everywhere at a time. Also, our men are few and we can’t do a lot with little numbers,” she added.
As of press time, the Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer, Sunday Abutu has not responded to our calls.
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