I received a distress call at about 3:45am on Friday 3rd October, 2014 from a student of University of Uyo, Uyo, alerting me of the invasion of their hostel (Hall 6-female hostel) by armed robbers.
I immediately alerted the State Police Command, Ikot Akpan Abia, Uyo on one of the two emergency GSM phone numbers- 08028916010, made public by the newly posted Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Isaac Achong,.
From my discussion with the officer who responded, it was apparent that they (the police) were already aware of the incident as he asked if it was at the female hostel.
From the information at my disposal, the following facts should be noted:
1. The men of the under-world entered the female hostel at about 1am through the main gate of the university and they fired gun shot(s) while entering the school.
2. The gang was reportedly led by a woman who spoke in Yoruba.
3. The robbers carted away laptops, phones, money and other valuables which they stole from their victims but did not molest or rape any student.
4. They operated for hours unchallenged and escaped through the fence surrounding the Hall 6 hostel.
5. A police team arrived at about 4;30am blaring siren, by which time the robbers had left.
6. The student head of the Hall 6 female hostel (Hall Rep) had put a call to the ‘security men, in the university but their phones were swifted-off.
I am aware that apart from the unarmed internal security men of the university, there are armed policemen that normally patrol the school premises at night. In fact, a police vehicle with armed officers is normally stationed at the main gate of the university from where the robbers reportedly passed through to the female hostel.
From the foregoing facts, the following questions are apt:
1. Where were the internal security men of the university, especially those that were designated to manned the gate, on the night of Friday 3rd October, 2014 particularly between the hours of 1-4am?
2. Have the armed policemen that normally secure the university been disbanded, if yes-since when and why? If no, where were they between the hours of 1-4am on Friday 3rd October, 2014?
3) Why did the police team arrived so late after the armed robbers had successfully operated for hours and left?
I will not make any conclusion so as not to prejudice the investigation, if any, that might be carried-out by the police and or the University of Uyo management, but suffice it to say that the security of the institution may have been compromised or this could be a clear case of dereliction of duty by those saddled with the responsibility of securing the school.
As a proud alumnus of the University of Uyo and concerned citizen, I demand that:
1) A serious investigation be launched immediately by both the police and the management of the institution into the remote and immediate causes of this avoidable incident.
2) Those found culpable should be seriously sanctioned to deter future occurrences.
3) The University management should as a matter of urgency reassess the security architecture and situation in the institution with the aim of closing the lapses therein.
Ms. Julia Pierson, the head of the American Secret Service recently resigned over security lapses in the White House. Thus, it will not be out of place if the Chief Security Officer of the institution is sacked for failing to secure the university thereby risking the lives and property of the hundreds of students and the property of the university.
The University of Uyo being a center of excellence and knowledge must not be seen sacrificing core values.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Comrade Inibehe Effiong (Mr.)