Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Forty-five new students of Lead City University, Ibadan, who hail from Sokoto State and are on the scholarship of a former governor of the state, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, escaped being burnt to death in a luxury bus that conveyed them to the Oyo State capital.
The leadership of Community Development Association (CDA) and Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) at Itesiwaju, New Felele, Soka Ibadan, reportedly prevented some angry youths from attacking the bus, based on false information that circulated that they were Boko Haram insurgents, terrorists and Fulani herdsmen.
The bus was reportedly stopped at Itesiwaju Maje Gate in Soka community, in Oluyole Local Government Area on Monday morning. But the police in the state and the university differed on the number of occupants in the luxury bus. The police put the number at 30, but the university said they were 45.
The bus was fully tinted and some irate community members, it was learnt, attempted to attack the bus. They were eventually prevailed on by the leadership of the CDA and OPC that they should not take the law into their hands.
The elders of the community were said to have reported the suspicious movement to the Sanyo Divisional Police headquarters. As gathered, a team of policemen came to Soka community and escorted the luxury bus and the occupants to their station. They reportedly told the police that they were new students of the university.
The Divisional Police Officer, Alhaji Tajudeen Olawuwo, it was gathered, called the registrar of the university, Dr. (Mrs.) Oyebola Ayeni, who confirmed that they were new students of the institution.
Director of corporate affairs and communication of Lead City University, Dr. Ayobami Owolabi, in a telephone chat with the reporter, confirmed the studentship of the 45 occupants of the bus. He said they were students on the scholarship of Senator Wamakko at the institution and they were admitted for various courses.
He stated that the new students were driven to Soka community because their coordinators had secured accommodation for them in the community, adding that residents of the community might have raised the suspicion based on the insecurity in the country. The residents’ association, he said, apprehended them and handed them over to the police.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the state, Olugbenga Fadeyi, a Superintendent of Police, told Daily Sun that the report he got from the DPO of Sanyo was that the occupants of the luxury bus were students of Lead City University, Ibadan, not Boko Haram insurgents or Fulani herdsmen, as widely speculated.
He explained that the DPO told him that, when a distress call was made to the station, he sent a team to the community to escort the bus to the station, adding that the true identities of the occupants of the vehicle were confirmed at the station.
The occupants of the bus, according to him, said they were students of the Lead City University and that they were on scholarship given to them by a former governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko. He said 30 persons were in the bus, contrary to speculations that they were 150 in number.
Fadeyi stated further that the DPO said he went to the university to confirm their identities, adding that the university affirmed their studentship. He explained further that the occupants of the bus drove into Soka community with a view to taking some rest. The university is not far from Soka.
President of the CDA, Alhaji Oladejo Muideen, reportedly led other elders of the community to meet the DPO to get to the roots of the matter. In a statement issued on behalf of the community on Tuesday, Muideen said: “The registrar confirmed that they are in partnership with the Sokoto State Government Scholarship Programme and they were expecting the students on the campus but she does not know about the accommodation arrangement in our community.
“For certainty, the community representatives requested that it is necessary to verify physically from the school authority. Hence, the DPO agreed and ordered his DCOII (Divisional Crime Officer II) to lead along with the community representatives and the student coordinators to meet with the management of Lead City University, with the list of the students, to confirm their status as bonafide admitted students of the school.
“At Lead City University, the registrar, Mrs. Ayeni, confirmed with evidence shown to the community representatives and the police. Hence, it was verified and confirmed that the northerners in the vehicle were beneficiaries of Sokoto State Government Students Scholarship, and were 46 in number, accompanied with three coordinators and a driver. At the meeting with the registrar, she offered that they should bring down the students to the school hostel for safety till they get new or same accommodation settled.
“We all returned to the station and fed the DPO in details. As we achieved these, Engineer Rusewe and Alhaja Sakirat Rasheed went inside the luxury bus and stylishly searched and saw that the information we gathered on the students and their luggage was correct. We also talked to the students and listened to their responses as they speak English fluently. Contacts were exchanged for follow-up and everyone departed in peace, as the vehicle left to Lead City University.”
Meanwhile, the Oyo State chapter of OPC, through Rotimi Oluomo, had on Monday raised the alarm that some suspected Fulani herdsmen were already in Ibadan, when he addressed residents of Maje area of Soka, where the luxury bus was intercepted.
According to him, he received a series of calls that some luxury buses conveying Fulani and Bororo, numbering about 300, entered Maje area of Soka at about 7:00 am on Monday, adding that, when he arrived at the scene, he discovered that the occupants of the bus came from the northern part of Nigeria. He said the occupants refused to disclose their destination when they were asked.
“That is the main reason we didn’t allow them to come down from their luxury buses. Immediately, we called Sanyo Police Station to interrogate them in order not to allow people to take the law into their hands,” Oluomo said.
He commended the police for their quick intervention, advising residents of Oyo State, Ibadan, the state capital, to be vigilant and give necessary information to both OPC and relevant security agencies whenever they notice suspicious movements.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Oyo State Police Command, Olugbenga Fadeyi, has confirmed that one of the armed robbers that stormed Idi Iroko, Ibadan, around 4am on Tuesday was shot dead.
He said some residents of the area had made a distress call to the police that some armed robbers were terrorising them.
Fadeyi stated that the police and the vigilance group in the area stormed the community and, in the process, one of the armed robbers was shot dead.