REPORT: Agbowo Unrest: Plight Of Residents, UI Students Living Off-Campus
Students of the University of Ibadan(UI) living in Agbowo, an off-campus community in Ibadan, are going through tough times as they are at the mercy of armed robbers, reports TIJANI ABDULKABEER (UI).
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, many schools had to switch over to e-learning.Thus, Senate of the University of Ibadan gave approval for first semester lectures of the 2020/2021 session to be delivered online.
Against this backdrop, authorities of the institution didn’t allocate halls of residence to students as a way of curbing the spread of the pandemic.
Many students of the institution were left with no option than to seek accommodation off-campus.
Agbowo, Hotbed Of Crime
These are certainly not the best of times for students living in Agbowo area in Ibadan. They now live in constant fear and panic of armed robbers.
Agbowo is believed to be one of the most dangerous and disorganised communities around the university environment. The place is said to be notorious for several atrocities.
On a daily basis, there are either reports of stealing, kidnapping or killing and sadly, security operatives allegedly do not respond quickly to residents in distress.
Students Lament Robbery
Chinedu Peter, a student of the institution who recounted his ordeal to CAMPUSLIFE in his apartment at Agbowo said: “It was demoralising how thieves come to our apartment and take away our belongings. They came around 1:40 am, early Monday morning. In fact, few weeks ago, they robbed some streets very close to ours.
” When I heard a loud bang, I jumped up, but didn’t know what was happening.Later I discovered those guys were here. They tried to break the door.
” My eldest brother was here at that time and he was sleeping but his leg kept hitting the door. They thought he wouldn’t let them in and you know that’s a red sign and by the time they were in one of them used a cutlass to hit him in the face.
“By the time they were gone, they took my phone, power bank and money,” he said.
Similarly, Roseline Ezeh, a 300-Level student in the Faculty of Social Sciences while recounting her experience said: “l really don’t know how it happened because I was sleeping. They got in through our window and four phones, laptops and money belonging to my roommate and I were taken away.”
But it was a different case for Morolake Adeyemi, a 300-Level student. She said when her house was raided by robbers, she was lucky to escape because her room was not touched,but the experience affected her mentally.
” I was preparing for my next exam on July 3, when the robbers struck.That horrible experience left me in constant panicking.
“Luckily, my room was spared from the attack but by the time they left, my mental health was affected. I couldn’t read any longer and I just had to find a place in the school to read up before going for my examination,” she said.
Eniafe Odekunle, a 300-Level student noted that she and her roommate were not around when the robbers came to their lodge.
“My roommate and I weren’t around when they came. Though they broke into our room, they didn’t find anything. They only scattered the room and took my electric iron.”
Koyinsola Olusina, a 300-Level Psychology student in the Distance Learning Centre, said for fear of not being robbed, she comes home early to prepare for them.
“I ensure that I come home early enough and as well always prepared for them because I know they can come anytime.
“I keep valuable items to the extent that even if they come they can’t sense that anything is inside. I am hopeful in God that even if they come they can never get into my room.
Police Not Responding To Our Complaints, Students Allege
When Adeyemi’s apartment was robbed, she noted that she reported the case to the Police in Agbowo,but nothing was done.
“We made a call to the police. My house is not too far from a police station and they didn’t come until after an hour by our calculation. When they arrived, we gave our report.
“Since that moment, we have been taking conscious efforts to secure our lodge ourselves to forestall a recurrence,” she said.
Ezeh, who was also robbed reported the case to the Police but she was disappointed that nothing was done. According to her, she paid N6,000 for investigation upon request by officers of Sango Police Station in Ibadan.
“We reported to Sango Police in Ibadan and they collected N6,000 for the investigation and thereafter nothing was done. It is disappointing,” she said.
Students: We Live In Fear And Panic
For Ranti Adewale, a 100-Level student in the Faculty of Arts said she now lives in fear any time she is at home after witnessing a robbery attack in her compound.
“I don’t want to experience what happened on July 9, when robbers stormed our compound. I planned to read at midnight, but I couldn’t after the robbers came.
“I was awake when it all started and being a nervous person, I was extremely frightened immediately and had to tell one of my close friends in class quickly about the attack in a WhatsApp message,” she said.
The WhatsApp message read: “Good morning sir. I pray you are online. Robbery is actually going on right now in our compound. I guess it’s downstairs… I have never been devastated like this. I’m even shaking right now writing this.”
Another student, Diran Olujide, who studies Mathematics, said the atmosphere in Agbowo is that of constant fear and panic.
“The robbery cases in Agbowo these days are heartbreaking.Students are being severely injured, while properties are carted away.
“Worst of all is that these guys come often, sometimes about 20 of them. They are street guys. I have never been robbed but really the pain of losing something you bought with your sweat is just so heartbreaking. May God help us in Agbowo,” he said.
SUG Wades In
According to the Students Union (SUG) President, Olusegun Akeju, the union has taken a bold step to report to necessary authorities in the university and the state.
He noted that necessary steps were being taken to secure the affected areas.
He also said the Special Assistant to the Governor on Student Affairs Victor Olojede has promised to deploy security operatives to some areas within this community.