Rising insecurity and bullying by cultists around Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Lagos, has become a problem for many of the school’s part-time students.
FIJ learnt that until lectures moved online recently, students often experienced robbery on their way home at night.
At about 8 pm on Thursday, August 26, a gang of robbers struck. John (not real name), a student of the Department of Mass Communication, told FIJ that he was about to leave through the school’s back gate when he saw some students running back in.
“They told me they were about to board a tricycle when they heard some guys shouting, “Obtain!” Before I knew it, I saw many other students running back to the school, some barefooted, all to avoid being ‘obtained,'” John said.
When he stepped out to see for himself what the students might have seen, he realised the robbers took advantage of the traffic congestion from Abule-Oja down to the college to steal from people.
“They beat some commuters and collected their phones. They broke the windscreens of some cars because the owners did not cooperate with them,” John said.
According to him, 30 minutes after the men left the area following a successful operation, the entire area was silent as people avoided it by all means.
Olamide, a student of Yabatech’s Accounting Department, said he saw some armed men stab people very close to the college’s back gate in 2019. Since then, he has stopped going home late.
“I went to a night class and was on the last floor of the multipurpose building so I could see what was happening outside the school gate. I was reading around 10 pm when I heard a man and a woman shouting for help.
“Some young boys were hitting them with a cutlass to collect their belongings. I couldn’t do nothing but watch them shout for help tirelessly. After the robbers had stabbed them many times, they took their belongings and left, “Olamide said.
Ismail and a friend had a similar experience in the area. She suspected they were being trailed but ignored the thought after her friend said she was being overly nervous.
“I felt like someone was following us but I was too scared to look back. We just walked as fast as we could because we were looking to get a taxi. When we saw a bus, we ran to hop in, only for a young man to run after us. When we eventually got in, I couldn’t find my phone, ” she said.
A graduate of the institution who asked not to be named said the prevalence of cultism in Yaba was one reason for the incessant insecurity in the area. He lost his phone to a gang of cultists who stopped him at WAEC bus stop, shortly before entering the college through the front gate, in July 2017.
“I was on my way to school after alighting at WAEC, when one guy asked that I identified myself. I continued my journey without saying a word. But before I got to school, he cornered me and said I was being monitored by a cultist group.
“He said I was trespassing by wearing a blue shirt and that if I didn’t want to dance to the tune of the music I had already played, I should surrender my phone. I didn’t think twice before I dropped my phone and left, ” he said.
FIJ attempted to reach Joe Ejiofor, the college’s spokesman, via a phone call, but his number was unreachable. He has also not replied to a text message sent to him.
CSP Ade Ajisebutu, the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, did not answer any of the calls placed to his phone number. He has also not responded to a text message sent to him.
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