Robbers invasions of hostels constitute a ‘terror pandemic’, should be stopped: HURIWA

Robbers invasions of hostels constitute a ‘terror pandemic’, should be stopped: HURIWA

Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to immediately direct his education minister Tahir Mamman to liaise with security forces to set up special units in the state commands to effectively curb incessant security breaches around universities by armed robbers.

Describing the incessant attacks of especially female hostels of tertiary institutions by armed men and the frequent sexual violations of female students as coordinated terrorism and a ‘national pandemic’, HURIWA is proposing to government that securing these assets be made a national priority.

In a statement by national director, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA noted that the nation has a notoriety for witnessing spates of attacks by armed non state actors on University hostels but sadly, the central and sub-national  governments have failed to activate effective and pro-active counter security measures to check the rising crime.

HURIWA described the recurring targeted armed robbery attacks of University hostels for many years without any formidable response through a deliberately couched national policy on security hostels and campuses of tertiary institutions in the Country by the Federal and state governments,  is abysmal and disappointing. “

“We find it disconcerting, that for many years, the tertiary institutions in Nigeria are being attacked and female students systematically raped and violated, but these heinous crimes against humanity have not received the kind of attention from the office of Nigeria’s president as it should. We wonder whether if the daughters of Mr. President, ministers and governors are housed in these publicly funded University hostels, whether the government officials will be this negligent of the primary constitutional duty of securing these assets and keeping our children safe from armed invaders?”

Demanding urgent security taskforce to tackle this menace, HURIWA provided few chronological history of these attacks particularly condemned the lack of action by the government to stem these ugly tides.

“On September 3, 2023, many University of Calabar students reportedly fled the campus following attacks by masked gunmen on the Malabor Republic hostels on Saturday night. Many reportedly left on Sunday as they feared the gunmen would return. The armed invasion happened around 9 p.m. on Friday and lasted over 30 minutes without campus security intervention. According to the Malabites, the gunmen successfully seized several phones and money belonging to the students in Hall 4. A victim, who gave her name as Helen Akpan, said, “The armed gang successfully operated in Room 228, 227, and 232, and was shooting sporadically. The sound of their guns struck fear and caused confusion”,  HURIWA affirmed.

On 24 August 2023, it was reported that tension enveloped  the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt after hoodlums suspected to be armed robbers invaded the school. The  assailants raided female hostels on Thursday morning, carting away mobile phones, cash and other valuables. One of the students who spoke with The media asserted that four female students were injured during the attack while some girls were sexually assaulted when the assailants invaded hostel ‘D’ and ‘C’ near the school back gate, where many of the female students are accommodated.

On January 6, 2022, it was reported that in the wee hours of the previous day, some of the students of University of Ibadan living in off campus private hostels were shot at, with their mobile phones, iPads, laptops and other portable gadgets as well as money carted away. It was gathered that the armed robbers who stormed Barika area, Agricola street and Agbowo community located in Ibadan North local government area of Ibadan, between the hours of 1:30 a.m and 2:00 a.m, injured the residents and a watchman during the robbery operations.

On February 14, 2018, the Nasarawa State Police Command on Wednesday, confirmed the killing of two students of the Federal University, Lafia by gunmen suspected to be armed robbers. Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Kennedy Idirisu, confirmed the killing to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lafia. Idirisu said that Police got a report from the University’s Registrar that gunmen stormed the students’ village at Mararaba-Akunza, opposite the university gate at about 10:30 pm and shot sporadically. He said when the police arrived the scene, the two students had already been shot by the suspected robbers.

On August 1, 2019, An Instagram user @ Joycejimm has shared the clip of a protest by female students of the University of Uyo after they were robbed for a second time in space of three days by armed men who invaded their hostels with Point Of Sales(POS) machine. According to the user, the protest is intended to serve as a wake-up call to security operatives around the higher Institution. What Joyce Jimm wrote: “This morning UniUyo’s hostel was robbed again after we were robbed 3days ago. This time, they came with POS to robbed us of our money and a girl was stabbed the last time they came. We decided to protest this morning, we need security and not old men and Gatemen.UniUyo is not safe again.”

HURIWA regretted that since 2015 till date, over 6 dozens armed invasions of female hostels of University campuses have happened just as the Rights group observed that with the current administration forming its central policies around the catchphrase of RENEWED HOPE, it is expected that it will confront headlong, these violent and predatory attacks on University hostels through a well thought out anti-crime strategic template to be enforced by all the relevant law enforcement agencies all across Nigeria with the primary crime fighters being the Nigerian police. We think the Federal and state ministries of education should partner with these law enforcement authorities to stamp out this hydraheaded monster that hasn’t been confronted headlong.

Dated 4th September, 2023.

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko national Coordinator of HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).

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