Some students at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, who live off-campus recount how their hostels were burgled and robbed
in their absence. This is as a result of the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Rahma Jimoh (OOU) reports.
Students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) are feeling the heat of the long-running battle between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
When the union declared the strike, they had to vacate the school and head home. Sadly, after some months, some of them visited the the school and discovered that their hostels had been vandalised and valuables stolen.
Ewatomi Awonusi said her room was burgled and her valuables carted away.
Awonusi’s room is at Complex, a hostel located at the Ijesha Road area of Ago Iwoye. She discovered the robbery when she visited Ago Iwoye last month.
According to Awonusi, she was in her home in Ibadan when the incident happened. She said she had the feeling to go to her hostel. She went at intervals since the strike began to pick something from her room.
“I left Ibadan in the afternoon. When I got to my hostel, I opened my door and my room was in a mess. My box, my gas, my new pots everything was gone, including my clothes and bed. I have two beds, only one was left and already drawn to the back of the door. The clothes left were the ones I do not wear anymore. I recently bought my box at N28,000 and arranged new clothes in it pending resumption. They are all gone now.
“They did not break the door. What I noticed was that they removed the glass and my net on my window, I cried. Where do I want to start from? Is it by buying a bed or box? Where do I want to get money? But I thank God for life. Perhaps they would have killed me if they had met me. I cannot say if it was a student or an indigene, I do not know,” she said.
She said people claimed it was someone who knew her that broke into the room. According to her, hostels get robbed and burgled during ASUU strikes and long holidays. She said 99 per cent of OOU students live in hostels rented out by indigenes off-campus because school hostels are not affordable. Apart from the fact that students’ house rents continue during the strike, their belongings are not safe.
Concerning the action her landlord took on the robbery, she said: “We do not know our landlord. We do talk to the agent. The agent’s wife was aware, I told her. She sells food in the complex. She followed me to my room and saw the whole place in disarray. Her husband has not called me till now.”
Awonusi, however, bemoaned the ongoing ASUU strike.
Her words: ” It is as a result of the strike and it is painful. Complex is always busy and full of people. You will always see people around. This would not have happened if school was in session. No one would have dared to steal from Complex. The ASUU strike is the cause of everything.”
Wisdom Emeka, another student whose hostel at the Itamerin area of Ago Iwoye, said though they broke into his room, nothing was stolen.
Emeka noted that other students’ room were broken and their belongings were stolen.
He said: “I was not in school. I was in Lagos when a friend of mine called to inform me.
“There are 20 suites in my hostel, they stole from some people’s rooms but did not steal from mine. They tore my net and opened my mirror to check if I had valuables.”
Emeka doesn’t know the particular day it happened.
“No one knew the exact day the robbers operated,” he said.
However, his landlord took action by getting the hostel new security personnel.
The OOU Student Union Government has also been taking steps to address the issue. A source, who pleaded anonymity, said: “The strike has caused a lot of loss and damage to students. We are putting actions in place and trying our best to ensure our hostels are safe
even in our absence.”