By Ariwidola Idowu
Students of the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado Ekiti, on Wednesday, trooped out to the streets to protest alleged harassment and indiscriminate arrests of students by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
They called on the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, to restrain his officers, by asking them to stop further harassment of innocent students, under the guise of being suspected to be involved in cyber crime, popularly called “Yahoo Yahoo”.
The students claimed that the protest came weeks after the arrests of some 40 youths, some of whom were students of higher institutions in Ado Ekiti, the state capital by EFCC and ferried to Ibadan, Oyo State, for alleged internet fraud.
The protest on Wednesday affected academic activities, as most of the lecturers and non-teaching staff could not access the campus because the students took over and occupied Ado Ekiti/Ifaki Ekiti dual carriage way, for several hours.
They also blocked the other adjourning routes, thereby causing traffic gridlock and long queues of vehicles along that route.
Those travelling outside the state capital and those coming in, had to detour and took alternative routes to their respective destinations.
Addressing the students, the Director of Welfare, EKSU Students’ Union Government, Temitope Aladejare, claimed that four of his colleagues were arrested by some EFCC officials very early on Wednesday morning.
“They just came to the hostel in front of the EKSU’s main gate and arrested four of our members.
“Two of the victims were even naked and they were in their rooms when they pounced on them without cogent reason.
“When they came, they introduced themselves as operatives of the EFCC and forcefully bundled the victims into a van and took them to an unknown destination.
“We are calling on the authorities of government to call them to order,” he said.
When contacted on the protest, the Public Relations Officer of EKSU, Mr Bode Olofinmuagun, said he was not on campus at the time, saying he was yet to have first hand information about the purported arrest and the protest staged by the students.
But the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti State Command, DSP Caleb Ikechukwu, said he could confirm that arrests were made.
Ikechukwu, however, added that the police swiftly restored order, by ensuring the removal of all blockages on the highway for smooth human and vehicular movement.
“I can confirm to you that there were arrests, but the police will continue to be an effective security organisation, which will continually work for the peace of our society.
“The students protested and they blocked the major highway and prevented commuters from moving in and out of the state capital; this we will never condone because that road is not within the confines of the university.
“They obstructed vehicular movement for hours but we have been able to remove those blockages and restore peace and order around the school premises,” he said.