SOME Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife students stormed the premises of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Ibadan, on Wednesday, November 1, protesting against the arrest of their fellow students.
The students in their numbers took to the streets with placards bearing various inscriptions, demanding an immediate and unconditional release of the arrested students.
The protest also trended on social media, with the hashtag #FreeOAUstudents.
In the early hours of Wednesday, November 1, the EFCC arrested over 69 students in a raid on hostels outside the campus.
The EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, while confirming the development, said the suspected internet fraudsters were arrested based on credible intelligence.
Items recovered include exotic cars, 190 mobile phones and 40 laptops among others.
Oyewale disclosed that the suspects had made useful statements to the anti graft body, adding that they would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.
Meanwhile, the Students’ Union President, Abass Ojo, said the body had details of “72 students picked up from their hostel with phones and cars taken away.”
In a widely circulated video sighted by The ICIR, a group of young individuals said to be students residing in the off-campus hostel were seen whisked away by the security operatives in a white Hummer Bus.
Reacting to the arrest via its X handle, the OAU Students Union, described the arrest as ‘unacceptable’, adding that it was against the principles of justice and due process.
“We strongly condemn the recent unjust arrest and harassment of our fellow students by members of the EFCC @officialEFCC in the odd hours of today, Nov 1, 2023. This action is unacceptable and goes against the principles of justice and due process.
“We stand in solidarity with our peers and call for a thorough investigation into these incidents. The safety and rights of students must be protected,” the union wrote.
OAU management react
Meanwhile, the management of the university has reacted to the arrest.
According to a report by The Nation, the university’s bublic relations officer, Abiodun Olarewaju, noted that the institution was still in the process of confirming the exact number of students taken picked by the commission.
During a telephone conversation, Olarewaju said the targeted hostel was situated outside the school campus. He further added that OAU had dispatched a delegation to the EFCC office to establish the exact number of students detained by the anti-corruption agency.
He said: “We want to be sure that our students are not unduly harassed or intimidated nor abused. The management has mandated us to go to Ibadan and find out because the welfare of students is important to us.
“We are just going there now, it is not only our students that are outside Ife, so we wouldn’t want a situation where people will say all those who were arrested are our students whereas maybe some of them are not our students. We want to know who we want to fight for, who we want to defend and protect,” he said.