SECURING OUR LIVES ON CAMPUS: A PRIORITY PRIMUS NON PAREIL–Odugbo Alapa Peters

​Sometimes last year, towards the end of September, a horrible whisker hits UI: that the dreaded set of Islamic terrorists, Boko Haram was coming to UI. 

The rumour, which in no time went viral on the social media, completely threw the university into pandemonium. Calls, almost completely without punctuations were streaming through to both students and staff alike with candid pieces of advice to evacuate the University without delay. The atmosphere within the university and its environs was turgidly tense. Consequently, the number of students and staff residing in the East, West and beyond the campus who took their friends and left the university as quickly as possible was indeed overwhelming. Hence, deafening silence fell over the almost deserted University. 

The management of the University felt the full impact of the rumour but was not deterred by fear from taking an immediate and essentially proactive measure to forestall the potential danger. At the blink of an eye, heavily armed armies of police, mopols and soldiers were deployed to man the gates of the terror-stricken university. In effect, whatever came in but not out of the university was thoroughly frisked; and no strange persons were allowed into the University without a means of identification.

It is noteworthy to point that another important development that welcomed the situation was the placement of different security agents at strategic corners of the university. Nevertheless, the question looming in the minds of students and staff was: why was such a step not taken hitherto to guarantee the protection of lives and property of the inhabitants of the university before the dreadful situation occasioned the need?

Anyways, a week passed; then another passed as well; then a month came and left; nothing happened. First, it was noticed that the armoured tank at the gate had disappeared. At first, the university community thought that it was pulled down to the barracks for re-servicing. In any case, it never returned.

While we struggled to collect our thoughts, the police and soldiers began to do some disappearing acts by dribs and drabs, until only the university security personnel was eventually left behind.

That aside, another particular case was that of Miss Ofore, a 300 level Computer Science student, who resides at St. Anne’s female private hostel. Having resumed school on the evening of that day, Ofore was attacked on her way back to the hostel. She survived, however, with a few cuts on her hand while her bag with all its essentials including her phones and some amount of money in addition to the fruits she had gone to buy at Agbowo was snatched. This, we must know is a drop in the ocean. Unreported cases of rape in the university are innumerable; and have only remained unknown for the fear of stigmatisation.

As a result, there is a clarion call for the university to prioritise the issue of security. A step towards achieving this is the issue of ID cards to identify students and staff of the university, on which grounds they could be allowed into the campus. On the other hand, keeping a record for visitors, their activities, and names of persons they had come to see; their dates and time of arrival and departure will go a long way in guaranteeing an efficient and reliable security system in UI. 

While the University management might be saddled with such responsibilities, students also have a part to play. Such roles as being the eye of the university in classes, halls of residence and anywhere around campus; reporting strange persons and criminal cases to appropriate security agents of the university community, rather than resorting to the distasteful meting out of jungle justice, will help bolster security in the university. 

In conclusion, the university belongs to everyone who has rightfully won a space in it whether as a student or a staff. By implication, it is a temporal home for its inhabitants and if all efforts are not put in place to make it idyllic for all and sundry, then some unprecedented calamity is imminent. If we truly desire a tight security system that responds quickly to situations, then we (students, staff and security), must act as one for our own common good.

 

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