Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Armed robbers on Thursday night invaded Obafemi Awolowo Hall, which houses female undergraduates and postgraduate students in the University of Ibadan.
The invaders reportedly stormed the hall at 1:30 am 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 stormed the hall and was switched 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 robbery was the fourth since she got to the institution. The invaders reportedly carted away dozens of phones and laptops belonging to the students at gunpoint.
Of the two students injured, one has machete cut on her forehead while the other suffered dislocation when she jumped from the first floor to the ground floor in an attempt to escape.
One of the security guards attached to the hostel was reportedly tied with ropes. However, speculation about rape was punctured by the students themselves and the management of the institution, who affirmed that none the students was raped.
The students, however, are still gripped by fear as the hoodlums had threatened to return to the hostel again to rob them.
Esther Adebiyi, the student that sustained an injury on her forehead, is a 400-Level undergraduate in the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science. She told journalists: “Early this morning around 1:30 a.m., or thereby, some guys came to the hall. They were running around the hall. What they were saying was that ‘MOPOL Guys’ as if mobile police personnel were chasing them. You would not really know that they came to raid the hall.
“They went through 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 stood in shock, as her door was forced open. One of the robbers came to her room and asked her to lie down. “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 on the laptop. As I was begging him, he brought out something from his bag and hit me with it on my head. Blood gushed out. I had to go to the school clinic and the wound was stitched.”
A master’s student in the Department of Zoology, who did not want her name mentioned in print, also affirmed that the hoodlums stormed the hostel at about 1:30 am.
She only became aware of the trouble when noise broke out in the hostel and people ran helter-skelter.
She recalled: “I did not know what was happening and I continued with my sleep. Then, some minutes to 2 a.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 to 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 the opportunity to come into my room. Then, I started crawling until I got to the porter’s lounge.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr Shina Olukolu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof Kayode Adebowale, and the Chief Security Officer of the university 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 it was 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. 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 a 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 stories concerning an unforeseen event that happened in one of our female halls. Some of them were carrying rumours that some of the students have been raped. That is not correct. Those are fake news. What happened was that some few minutes after 1 am, some people came to Olafemi Awolowo Hall that houses postgraduates and undergraduate students.”
He further affirmed: “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 1:30 am, 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.”
He continued: “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.