The President of the Students’ Union Government of the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, Ondo State, Damilola Okunomo, has narrated the ordeals of the students in the hands of hoodlums who attack their off-campus hostels.
Okunomo, who spoke in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH on Monday, lamented that the hoodlums invade the students’ apartments with charms, which make them sleep deeply while they operate unchallenged.
He said, “There are over 5,000 students on campus and because of lack of hostel accommodation on campus, we all rent apartments from private homeowners or landlords in Ayeka and Igodan villages, both in the Okitipupa Local Government Area.
“Before 2021, we have recorded a series of robberies and attacks but the frequency of the attacks increased this year. For some time now, students can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed because of the high level of insecurity and threat to lives and property around campus.
“Many times, the hoodlums, who are also indigenes of the host communities, ‘tax’ us. We will be walking on the streets and the miscreants will encircle us and demand N50 or N100 probably for food or Indian Hemp. They assault the male students among us who refuse to part with their money and molest our female colleagues. These happen outside the campus, in Ayeka and Igodan villages both in Okitipupa.
“There is a police post in Okitipupa but whenever we call, the police officers keep complaining that they don’t have a patrol van; they claim their vans were destroyed during the #EndSARS protests last October. Though they are 100 per cent aware of all the cases of robbery, rape, and incessant attacks on students within the host communities, nothing has been done to curb these horrific acts. Also, the Amotekun Corps is aware of our predicament but they have not done anything to help us.”
He said the community leaders of the affected areas have since taken some measures to abate the spate of attacks.
“As for Igodan, we have seen a little change. These hoodlums who rob and rape us come with charms and whenever they come to our residential apartments, we sleep as if we have not slept before in our lives. The leaders here in Igodan have performed traditional rites and they promised us that the hoodlums would be caught and truly, this has been happening. There is also restricted movement in Igodan; there is no movement from 11pm to 06:30am. These are some of the measures put in place by the community leaders. However, in Ayeka, we have not seen any change; nothing has been done to curb the criminality in the area.”
The SUG President appealed to the leadership of the Niger Delta Development Commission and the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission to complete an abandoned hostel building on campus that has the capacity to accommodate over 2,000 students.
The school management has since shut the university to find a solution to the problem.
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