‘No terrorism threat at UI’
From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The supposed threat by terrorists to bomb University of Ibadan before October 1, this year, might be handiwork of the fifth columnist to send wrong signals to the members of the public that the campus of the institution is no longer safe.
The indication emerged during a visit by Daily Sun to the university campus. Sources said a similar threat was issued three years ago and nothing happened, adding that the current threat could not have been from Boko Haram insurgents. But security personnel were sighted at strategic points on the campus of the premier university.
A group that identified itself as ‘al-wilayat al-Islamiyya Gharb Afriqiyyah’ had purportedly circulated the information to some lecturers, through their institutional e-mail addresses or were copied through social platforms such as WhatsApp.
A middle-aged man, who did not want his name mentioned in print, stated: “If Boko Haram insurgents want to bomb UI, do you think they would give notice to the university? No. The threat could not have come from the insurgents, but some members of the community that want to heighten security on the campus. I think UI should look inward. Also, there is possibility that the threat could also have come from people that did not want UI to maintain its leading position in Nigeria.”
A visit to the institution yesterday revealed that students and staff went about their academic activities without any visible fear of being attacked. Students and staff were sighted at the car park at the entrance of the university, boarding commercial buses and cabs to different parts of the campus.
Some of the places visited on the campus yesterday included Faculty of Arts, Students’ Union Building(SUB), Kuti Hall, Faculty of Law, Institute of African Studies, Alumni Centre, Faculty of Education, Chapel of Resurrection and UI Mosque. There was no visible sign of fear with the way the students and staff went about their activities. Some students were sighted sitting down on groups at the Faculty of Arts and SUB.
When contacted yesterday, the Director of Public Communication, UI, Mr. Olatunji Oladejo, said the “the situation on campus is calm. Everywhere is peaceful. It is true that we wouldn’t want to leave anything for granted as a result of the purported message that emanated from that irregular and dangerous group. The group, according to that message, which was well circulated on the social media and well reported in some conventional media, said they would come and attack the lives and property in our university. Up till this moment, we have not recorded anything unpleasant.”
According to him, the vice chancellor, Prof Idowu Olayinka, has directed well-trained and well-equipped internal campus security service to work in concert with other security agencies, including the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), Department of State Security (DSS) and the military to ensure that necessary security arrangements on the campus.
Oladejo, who said the university did not suspect anybody, and urged members of the university community to go about their lawful business, noted that a similar threat message was issued three years ago and nothing came out of it.
He asked: “Why is it that such message was sent and started trending on the social media at a period UI is listed as one of the most distinguished universities in the world? For you to be so listed, your campus must be safe and secured for effective teaching and research, community service and knowledge transfer. So, somebody somewhere appears to be sending a wrong signal.
“Beyond this, why is that at a period that we are celebrating our international students’ week, comprising students from about 38 countries, the message was sent and circulated to send wrong signals? So, we are asking all these questions because we know we are proactive in our security arrangement in this university.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in Oyo State, Mr. Adekunle Ajisebutu, who said the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Samuel Adegbuyi, is in contact with heads of other security agencies in the state, told newsmen in Ibadan that the security agencies are on top of the situation and would do everything possible to prevent any ugly occurrence in and around the university, adding that plain cloth detectives have been drafted to the university and its environ.