November 27, 2023.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Suspected armed robbers have invaded the Ipara-Remo and Ode-Remo communities, hosting some students of the Gateway Polytechnic, Saapade in Remo North Local Government Area of Ogun State, just as some students were shot with female students allegedly sexually molested.
The suspected robbers stormed the communities around 1 am two Fridays ago and last Sunday, shooting sporadically and entering into students’ hostels to cart away their belongings, molest some female students, and also shoot some others, among which was Francis Dwumfour, leaving him in a critical condition.
Some pictures obtained by our correspondent showed students with injuries on their bodies, damaged window shields and burglar-proof, and bullet shells recovered from the scenes of the attacks.
The students who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent on Thursday disclosed that the robbery attacks had become a recurring decimal in the communities over time but it got to its peak during last Sunday’s attack.
A source within the community who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being attacked disclosed that aside from last week’s attack, there was a previous robbery incident which took place two Fridays ago where some students were shot and one was feared dead from the gunshot injury. He also disclosed that he was similarly attacked by some suspected robbers sometime in 2022 within the community.
He disclosed, “I was attacked sometime last year in the Ode-Remo area. I was going home from my shop when a man asked that I help him down the road with my motorcycle. On getting to the point he wanted to drop, I saw someone come out from behind and hit me with a sledgehammer while I was also shot. I spent almost N3m before I could recover.
“The second attack I witnessed happened two Fridays ago in a hostel opposite my house. What I observed was that a vehicle drove recklessly into the compound which raised my suspicion, but I was careful not to get involved. It was after they left that we heard that it was a robbery attack. The Students Union President of the institution, Olatunji Alexander, noted that despite a ‘Save our souls’ call made to the police officers in the area during the attack, their plea was ignored. He, however, disputed claims that one student died in the attacks.
“The incident happened around Ipara-Remo on November 19 around 1 am. The students who called me said they rushed to a nearby police checkpoint in the community to alert the police of the attack, but the police did not yielded their call. I was furious and had to call the Area Commander who expressed displeasure towards their action. One person was injured during last Sunday’s attack.
Another student, who also doubles as the Director of Polytechnic Affairs of the National Association of Nigerian Students, South-West zone, Olusola Ezekiel, blamed the attacks on the absence of hostel facilities in the polytechnic, which had contributed to the students’ exposure to unwarranted attacks.
He said, “The robbery and sexual molestation of our students have been going on for several years, but this year, they became so rampant that the robbers now enter students’ hostels, displace them of their belongings, molest the female ones, and shoot at some. We have had several casualties, but the one of the students that was shot is the most fatal. The reason why students are exposed to these attacks was because the institution does not have hostel facilities, and students live off-campus, which puts them at the risk of these attacks. We have asked the communities also to take responsibility in curtailing the issue of insecurity of Nigerian students, especially in Gateway Polytechnic Saapade.
“The issue of attacks on student communities in the state is becoming worrisome. Last year, there were reports of attacks on the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro; recently, some unscrupulous elements attacked Tai Solarin University of Education, raping female students and carting away their belongings, and this week, we are experiencing the same thing in GAPOSA,” he said.
A member of the polytechnic management who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Sunday disclosed that the management was aware of the attack while stating that efforts were on to curtail security breaches within the communities.
She said, “We are aware of the attack and the institution is doing everything in its power to find a solution to this security situation. The newly appointed Rector has also met with all stakeholders to find lasting solution to security challenges.”
She, however, appealed to the state government to lend a hand in resolving the security situation in the communities.
“We are appealing to the state government to support us in resolving this security issue because the school alone cannot handle it.”
When contacted, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Omolola Odutola, confirmed the attacks stressing that the injured student had been discharged from hospital while dismissing claims that a student died during the incident.
“The robbery occurred on the same day and the student who was injured has recovered and been since discharged from hospital.
“There was a meeting between the students and the CP and the CP urged them to always report incidents formally to the Divisional Police Officer and not to take law into their own hands by displaying their grievances first to their school authorities who would better notify the Ogun State Police Command. No student died in the attack,” Odutola disclosed.Punch