© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
UniAbuja suspends SUG election over cult violence
By Adedamola Akinleye
THE University of Abuja has suspended indefinitely the election for the Students Union Government (SUG) over escalating violence on campus.
A circular signed by Alanana Otaki, the Dean of Students Affairs, did not specify how long the suspension will last.
“The University of Abuja management in its emergency meeting held on August 30, 2018 reviewed the security situation in and around the students’ hostels in the mini campus Gwagwalada and directed that the 2018 student union government (SUG) election be suspended till further notice,” the circular read.
“The suspension of the election activities is as a result of the security challenges within the university and its environs. The university management is assiduously working round the clock to restore normalcy in the overall interest of the students and the entire university community
“As soon as normalcy is fully restored, the suspension will be lifted for full blown election activities.”
Students were advised to focus on their forthcoming second semester examination and to report any security threat to the appropriate authority for necessary action.
Recently, cultists killed a student and critically injured another student at the university.
The incidence occurred about two weeks ago at the Old FCDA boys hostel in the university’s mini campus in Gwagwalada, Abuja.
Students said the killing was sparked by student artist who allegedly made disparaging statements in his lyrics against a particular cult at an event organised by Economics students at the Gwagwalada mini campus open air theatre. Thereafter, the event was disrupted by the rival cult and fighting broke out.
Days later, the fighting degenerated into a shootout by the warring cultists, resulting in the killing of a 200 level Sociology student who was shot in the male hostel but died while being taking to the university’s teaching hospital. Another student in the hostel had a machete cut and he is currently receiving treatment in the hospital
The Dean of Students Affairs told The ICIR that the management of the university was aware of the attack by identified cultists, adding that the university had taken necessary actions to apprehend the culprits and prevent future occurrence.
Otaki said about a week after he was appointed to his current position, the school environment started experiencing violence which culminated in the killing of a student.
“The student was shot in broad daylight. In fact, when the police saw the corpse, they called it summary execution,” Otaki said.
He said the school had met some students to help in identifying the perpetrators, adding that the students were not helping with useful information that could lead to the apprehension of the cultists.
“These suspected cultists are not spirits. They are students. They live together. They know who is who among themselves, but they are not willing to talk, and so, there is only little we can do,” he said.
Otaki pointed out that that the forth-coming students’ union government election could be responsible for creating unnecessary tension on campus.
“The election was supposed to hold in a couple of weeks from now, but the rivals and oppositions could come up with anything to get to power. We will not allow that in the University of Abuja,” he said.
“Those things their fathers are doing out there will not be allowed here and for this, the school authorities have decided to suspend the election till further notice.”
He said the university had constituted a security panel, headed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the school.
Otaki said the security panel comprised of the Department of State Security (DSS), Department of Military Intelligence (DMI), the Nigerian Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
He said the investigation into the security breaches is still ongoing, stressing that anybody involved in the violence will be handed over to the police for further prosecution.
Bashir Obasanjo, the SUG president, told The ICIR that the school authority had been unable to curb the rising cases of cult violence on the campus.
“The federal government should please help the school by providing maximum security in and around the institution vicinity because the school authority said they will shut down the school for a while
“I told them that, what is the essence of telling students to go home while the situation has not been dealt with and they resume back and such bad act still continue. But necessary measures have been taken but not saying them now because they are confidential.”