Fears are increasing in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, where flying of colours, physical attacks, reckless consumption of hard drugs and bullying are gradually becoming order of the day among students.
Following the mass movement against cultism in the university in the wake of July 10, 1999 cult attack which led to the death of five students of the institution including the then Secretary General of the Students’ Union, George Iwilade, students believed that cultism has gone for good but years after, is gradually germinating again.
IFE CITY NEWS finding established that that cultists have begun to fly colours in campus including Anglo Moz Car, new buka among others.
Some students said inability to have a strong and organized union structure has resulted to the menace as a vibrant students’ union is inversely proportional to the rise of cultism.
While the students are scared that the activities of these different cult groups are taking a turn for the worse and may soon get out of control, the university told IFE CITY NEWS that it is on top of the security situation of the varsity to maintain its hard earned reputation as one of the most peaceful campuses in Nigeria.
STUDENTS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES:
While narrating his bitter experience to IFE CITY NEWS, a student of Medical Rehabilitation who spoke under the condition of anonymity because of fear of another attack on him said the security situation on campus has degenerated to the extent that he cannot be too sure of what may happen in academics at nights as these groups now extort students of their belongings.
“The mindset over the years is that OAU is one of the most peaceful campuses in the country and every students have that confidence to walk at any time of the day and night. While we are aware that they operate underground, they are becoming brutal these days. I was attacked at sport complex axis after I finished praying. Suddenly, I saw these two hefty men who asked that I give them my phone and wrist watch.”
“As someone who has stayed for more than two sessions on campus, I asked them if they were doing ‘aro’ (sarcasm) and one of them slapped me, asked me to kneel down. They over powered me and took away my phone and wrist watch. They however, left a warning that never pass through where they saw me at late hours”.
Another student who preferred to simply be refered to as Opeyemi alleged that the activities of these agents of darkness is more rampant in halls of residence.
“I stayed in Angola hall last semester as a fresh student and I witnessed several students at night smoking recklessly at the bush behind the last block of the hall”
“They were seen countless times consuming hard drugs such as Codeine and Tramadol. I went to the security unit to complain. I was asked to write statement which I did but unfortunately, nothing was done. The most dangerous aspect of it is that some fresh students then (now in 200 level) even smoke in the rooms and often spray the odour with air fresher”.
UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT REACTS:
While reacting, the university did not deny getting reports relating to the students cry but told our correspondent that its on top of the security situation of the institution to maintain its hard earned reputation as one of the most peaceful campuses in Nigeria with zero tolerance for cultism.
The Chief Security Officer of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Oyatokun Babatunde confirmed to IFE CITY NEWS that some of these reports were made by students.
“The issue of flying of colours particularly that of yellow beret was reported last week to be precise. However, the guy in question was not our student, he was invited by one of our students to the campus. He is a student of Oduduwa University Ipetumodu, a private University here in Ife. So because of that we referred the case to police and ask them to investigate him. We took his picture and declare him undesirable on our campus”.
“That was the step taken by us. The student he followed in was seriously warned because he is a fresh student who we saw as one who do not know the custom of the school. So, we warned him against future occurrence.”