By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
Tension is brewing on the campuses of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, Ago Iwoye, the Federal University of Agriculture, FUNAAB, Abeokuta and the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, MAPOLY, Abeokuta following the raids on students’ hostels by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Agents of the EFCC had in the early hours of Wednesday stormed off-campus hostels inhabited by the students in a military-like operation, arresting no fewer than 30 students.
The affected hostels are located in Ibogun campus of OOU, Abule Ojere, Safari areas for MAPOLY students and Alabata area for FUNAAB students. Apart from arresting the students, valuable items such as cars, laptops were also carted away.
Though the spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the development, he did not disclose the whereabouts of the arrested students. He, however, said they are safe.
Reacting to the arrest, the Public Relations Officer of the Students Union Government of OOU, Samson Adeyemi, decried the Gestapo like approach adopted by the EFCC.
He faulted their breaking down doors and windows of students homes in the dead of the night to effect the arrests.
“They should carry the student leaders and management of schools along before doing things like this. They should have confidence in us. Nobody is in support of criminal activities but there must be decorum in what we do. A number of innocent individuals were harassed. Some were rudely woken up from sleep. We don’t want a situation whereby such a development would lead to confrontation, ” he said.
Similarly, the PRO of MAPOLY SUG, Johnson Idowu, said the union was yet to get report of any of its members being arrested, but cautioned that the EFCC must find a better way of doing its job rather than acting in a manner that it would be difficult to differentiate between its agents and real armed robbers.
A student of MAPOLY, Adewale Adekanmbi described the anti-corruption agent as wicked and barbaric, positing that the EFCC infringing on the fundamental rights of the students.
He said, “I was surprised when I got the news of the invasion and subsequent arrest of some of our students and sisters institutions on flimsy excuses without concrete evidence against them. This is not good at all”.
On his part, Ibrahim Ogunsiji from FUNAAB called on the EFCC Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, to call his men to order and stop harassing their innocent colleagues over alleged involvement in cybercrime and, popularly called ‘yahoo-yahoo’.
“I am calling on authorities of governments to call them to order”, he said.
He noted that the anti-corruption agent must not go about denying innocent youths and especially; students from the enjoyment of all their constitutionally protected fundamental human rights as enshrined in the nation’s constitution. Saying that the EFCC action was “unconstitutional and undemocratic to demonize students based on assumptions”.
Ogunsiji said, “How can security agent or operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would constantly storm the living hostels of both female and male students of the tertiary institutions and round up every students staying in those hostels even without any shreds of empirical evidence linking such innocent students to any suspicious activities linked to advanced fee fraud or 419”.