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, have escaped being burnt to death in a luxurious bus that conveyed them to Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The leadership of Community Development Association (CDA) and Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) at Itesiwaju, New Felele, Soka Ibadan, were said to have prevented some angry youths from attacking the luxurious bus, based on false information that circulated that they are Boko Haram insurgents, terrorists or Fulani herdsmen.
The bus was said to have been stopped at Itesiwaju Maje Gate in Soka community, in Oluyole Local Government Area on Monday morning. But the police in Oyo State and the university differed on the number of occupants in the luxurious bus, with the police saying 30, and the university said 45. But some people in the community said 45. The luxurious bus was said to have been fully tinted and some irate community members were said to have attempted to attack the bus before they were prevailed on by the leadership of the CDA and OPC that they should not take laws 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 luxurious bus and the occupants to their station. They were said to have told the police that they are newly admitted students of the university.
The Divisional Police Officer, Alhaji Tajudeen Olawuwo, was said to have called the Registrar of the university, Dr. (Mrs) Oyebola Ayeni, who confirmed that they are new students of the institution.
The Director, Corporate Affairs and Communication of the Lead City University, Dr Ayobami Owolabi, in a telephone chat with Daily Sun, confirmed the studentship of the 45 occupants of the luxurious bus, contrary to speculations that the occupants of the bus were 300, saying they are new students on the scholarship of Senator Aliyu Wamakko to 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 the 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 then Divisional Police Officer of Sanyo was that the occupants of the luxurious bus are 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 are students of the Lead City University and that they were on a 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 for confirmation of their identities, adding that the university confirmed 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 the Soka community.
The President of the Community Development Association, Alhaji Oladejo Muideen, was said to have led other elders of the community to meet the DPO in order to get to the roots of the matter. Muideen said in a statement issued on behalf of the community on Tuesday that “The registrar confirmed that they are in partnership with the Sokoto State Government Scholarship programmes 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 the 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 are beneficiaries of Sokoto State Government Students Scholarship, which they are 46 in numbers, accompanied by three coordinators and a driver. At the meeting with the Registrar, she offered that they should bring down the students to 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 luxurious bus and stylishly searched and saw that the said students and their luggage are correlated with the information gathered. 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 the residents of Maje area of Soka, where the luxurious bus was intercepted.
According to him, he received series of calls that some luxurious 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 luxurious buses. Immediately, we called Sanyo police station to interrogate them in order not to allow people to take laws into their hands,” Oluomo said.
He, however, 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, saying “the security of the state is paramount to OPC.”
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of Oyo State Police Command, Olugbenga Fadeyi, has confirmed that one of the armed robbers that stormed Idi Iroko area of Ibadan around 4 am on Tuesday was shot dead. He added that 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 vigilante group in the area stormed the community and in the process, one of the armed robbers was shot dead.