By Ikeugonna Eleke
The National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) has called for improved security in Ifite, a community close to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, where students living off campus reside.
There has recently been an upsurge in criminal activities in Ifite, with many students being terrorized on a daily basis by armed robbers.
There have also been incidences of cultism in the area, with many killings already registered, while some media organisations had reported incidences of rape against female students whose hostels were invaded.
In a press conference, the Financial Secretary of NANS Zone F, Mr Ernest Okafor, representing the NANS chairman of the zone, called for a reinforcement of security in Ifite to give students living in the area a sense of security.
He also absolved police of blame over a recent attack on students living in the area, saying the attack, which the students had attributed to men of the police force as an illegal raid, was actually an attack by robbers who stole from several students in their hostels.
‘We have investigated the incident and we are convinced that it was not the police that raided students’ lodges. It was actually robbers that attacked the students. We apologize for all damages our allegation may have caused the police.
‘We also want to say that there was no rape in any lodge in Ifite as reported by some news organisations. The rumour is fake. We visited most of the lodges and we interviewed students and came to the conclusion that it was armed robbery attacks and not police raid and no rape was recorded.
‘We are however appealing to the police; we know it is a herculean task to provide security, but they should deploy all deployables to secure the students in Ifite.
‘I like the strength and energy the police have recently put in to provide security in Ifite, but they should do more. Ifite is a small place. How can the place be a challenge to the police? They need to come here so that the students can sleep with their eyes closed.
‘We call on the Inspector General of Police to also site a police division here in Ifite and let it cater for the security challenges that we have,’ Okafor said.
The Students Union Government president of the institution, Mr Charles Obinna Ijeoma, who reinforced the call by the NANS chairman, called for the erection of more hostels within the campus to help students live in a secure environment.
‘We also call on the federal government to build more hostels. This is a federal institution and we expect the federal government to act to secure students. We have land everywhere in the institution, and I wonder what it is meant for, if not to be developed,’ he wondered.