Wednesday, May 29, 2019 2:38 pm
Palpable fear presently rules within the students community of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, as they await 1 June, 2019, the date a cult group, Alora Confraternity, has vowed to strike the campus.
Many students are, according to Gavel International, not taking the threat lightly as many are already making arrangements to leave the campus before 1 June. This, despite the security beefing up the University authorities have embarked upon within the last two weeks. Many students are not leaving anything to chance.
It would’ve been safe to say, that cultism on Obafemi Awolowo University campus had become a thing of the past since after the July 10, 1999 experience. This was especially owing to the fact that student unionism, alertness and consciousness particularly on cult-related issues in the aftermath of that attack had largely increased; atleast until the Student Union proscription by the current administration of the school.
However in recent times, particularly on May 3, 2019, and about twenty years after the last serious attack, members of a cult group named the “Alora Confraternity” found their way into the campus and constituted a nuisance at the school’s amphitheatre where a party featuring Nigerian artist, Zlatan Ibile was being held.
Reportedly, the members of this cult group stormed into the venue and began to attack and harrass students. They equally went as far as slapping some individuals and particularly a student dressed in a yellow shirt due to his failure to affiliate himself with any cult group.
They further went on to deal mercilessly with another student identified as ‘Ay Joks’ who was bold enough to confront them. He had been severely beaten before some students stepped in and tried to save him. It was reported also that they came armed with a dagger and local charm known as ‘bante’.
Out of the cultists present which consisted mainly of Oduduwa University, Ile-Ife(OUI) students, a female and another OAU student, about 7 were eventually apprehended by students and handed over to the school security for their subsequent arrest and other disciplinary measures to take place.
Three days later as it turned out, it was revealed to the Student Union Action Committee that the arrested cultists had been released. Further inquiries showed that they were allowed to go because the complainants failed to show up and then a lecturer came for their release and stood as their surety. Afterwards, based on the petition written by the Action Committee to the Nigerian Police Force, the culprits mostly consisting of OUI students were rearrested and this time transferred from Moore Police Station to the Police headquarters in Osogbo for proper filing. They have also been expelled from their university.
Nevertheless, in the early hours of the following Monday morning, 6th of May to be precise, a threat letter made to the university was circulated on WhatsApp and it read thus:
Members of the cult group arrested and handed to the police
*TO THE PRAWNS AND SUIRELLS OF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY*
“So Zlatan was coming to Ife, Ko ya base wa. Son of the yellow soil did not came to bow to the soil. We did not take it to heart. We did not ruin his show.
Information now got to me that the boys I sent to ensure that sanity is quality. Awon omo ile that I sent to put everything in order and prepare to sina laye. To expand the base. To settle the opodi akese si danu u egun. You beat my boys. While they were in the body of blood.
You mutilated them. E tu ko won sinu van, you took them to your security station.
Alaye yin ma baje ni.
Not to do long talk. The yellow viper will crawl over Obafemi Awolowo University
Blood will flow. We will go from every hostel to every hostel. We will wash your school with the sins of your people.
Motu gbo nipa Awon Man o War. We will burn down your base and tie you to the pole.
June 1st. You can call the whole Nigeria army to defend your school. Nothing go save this blood shed.
Never forget how you take helpless for 1999. Ta Awon omo okun dudu baye yin je. For every of our people that you take. We go take 7. Blood for blood.
The eyes that sees all.”
Sources have it that although the University management has since urged students to discountenance the letter, dismissing it as something written by a student merely to create a scare, they have also tightened the security at the school gate. Also, in light of the acute similiarity of the trail of events that have taken place in the last week to that of the 1999 attack- seeing as a comparable letter was also written by the cult group at that time before they eventually struck, students of the university have responded in different ways. While some have blamed the university management for banning the student union, some others have decided to make light of the issue as is popular with many Nigerians; arguably, this helps to keep us sane and reduce the tension. Some have even started making plans on where to go before the D-day comes. Nonetheless, a reaction that arguably stands out is that of a concerned and politically aware student popularly known on campus as ‘Olamarx’ due to his radical views and activitism. He released a letter stating his views on the issue on ground which read as follows:
“The state of our campus; a replication of July 10, 1999*
_Afrika died, Tunde Oke died, Eviano Ekelemo died, Yemi Ajiteru died, Efe Godspower Ekpede died, many injured._
*_History will surely have it that I wrote at the right time and further vindicate me, what will history say about you?_*
It is a free world, you can decide to read or not but if you read it, it would go a long way.
We had an organized cult attack on Friday 3 to Saturday 04 at the Zlatan Ibile show that even recorded the slaps of several alumni and even students.
Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede, VC, OAU
Perhaps, that was not enough, we got a threat through *OJU* that they are coming on the 1st of June. And, let me take you down the memory lane. They wrote similar letter in 1999 that they would be coming on July 7 but they launched the attack on July 10.
History also has it that some cultists were apprehended prior to the July 10 massacre and they were taken to this same More Police Station and they were eventually released. The arms that were seized from these cultists on that very Friday night and given to the police have been released to the culprits just for court not to act on it and in fact, all the high ranked officers of the Moore police station could say was that we should go, that the issue would be handled.
The reason I’m taking you back is for us not to make mistake, and to be candid, you or myself might end up to be another Afrika or the medical student that never took active parts in unionism or activism but lost his life, Eviano Ekelemo, or Tunde Oke. The July 10 attack claimed the lives of students and left many in severe injuries and these injuries are still like fresh feelings that we cannot afford another attack.
You will perfectly agree with me that the consciousness then in 1999 was much more than what we have now(if we have at all) but the culprits still operated their deeds, until some of them met their water looR in the aftermaths, how much more the state we are in presently? I hope that students who are skeptical yet to confront porters’ oppression would be able to confront cultists.
As some of you might be doubting the authenticity of the message from *OJU*, I want you to have it that this is just the exact form they came and I fully know that some persons will think that the University has security unit that guarantees security However, even some security men I have met with so far, testified to the way security men first ran away on July 10.
Let’s bring it to a logical reasoning, how will you tell a porter or security man to face somebody fully armed to teeth? In fact, nowadays, the office of the CSO is so short of information on security matters on campus, as it was even action committee that broke the news of the cultist being released and the CSO said it was a lie and on getting to the police station he realized the truthfulness of the news. This is also the way the CSO and even DSA claimed the message from *OJU* is false and was written by a student, claiming they’ve traced it, but either the *OJU* is a cultist or not, you will agree with me that he has affiliation with cultists.
Well, the CSO has said it that they are not responsible for students security in town, whereas, that town is where OAU students and OUI students stay together. Unfortunately too, the campus security is neither secured too, with the attacks here and there on campus.
I must say, the show of little or no interest by the DSA of the university in security matters affecting students is not good enough. The DSA would act swiftly if it was to blackmail activists, such as what recently transpired over the exploitation in Moz(Mozambique Hall) but has kept mute on the cult attack, this is a sign that our lives and welfare is of little or no concern to the quarters expected.
I hereby advise the students who know what security means to come together and give pragmatic step on this issue. On this note do I also charge parents, alumni, . press, NGO and the general public for a joint campaign with students to forestall these ugly developments.
Students should note that liberators don’t exist, people liberate themselves.”
All efforts to speak with the University’s Public Relations Officer(PRO) Mr Abiodun Olanrewaju proved abortive as he did not picked his calls, neither did he responded to messages sent to his phone.
As it stands now, the OAU campus is relatively peaceful.