Monday, June 13, 2011

Kidnap of hunchbacked student sets Ogun university town on edge

The kidnap of an undergraduate of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Wasiu Olalekan Balogun has thrown the university community and the host town into serious confusion, with students threatening a violent protest if the student, who has an hunchback, is not released.

The 200 level accounting student, who went missing about a week ago, was said to have been abducted by some armed men while he was with his girlfriend in the town.

The missing students' colleagues at the weekend embarked on a protest to the palace of the traditional ruler of the town, the Ebuwame of Ago Iwoye, Abdul-Rasaq Adenugba, to lodge a complaint of their missing colleague.

The royal father, while profusely begging the protesting students not to be violent, recalled that the effect of an earlier violent approach used five years ago during a clash between the students and the community is still being felt in the community.

Mr Adenugba appealed to the protesters to be calm and assured them that security operatives were on top of the situation.

However, NEXT investigations in the town also revealed the presence of an active kidnapping gang in the town. Some of the residents say these people sometimes pretend to be alms beggars or lunatics to carry out their evil deeds.

Some colleagues of Mr Balogun however said the reason why they were worried was about his fate was the belief that people with a hunchback are usually killed for money rituals.

"Some dubious students who are involved in crime, known in the parlance as Yahoo plus, may not be ruled out from the crime," one of the student said, speaking anonymously.

Working on the rescue The University's spokesperson, Sam Oyeleye said the school authority is working with security operatives to unravel the kidnap saga, adding that the university has also put in place internal security mechanism to ensure the safety of other students.

Mr Oyeleye said the university was optimistic that the missing student will be rescued in due course and that his abductors will be fished out.

He assured the students body and parents not to entertain further fear, saying meetings were ongoing with security agents and community leaders towards ensuring an enduring peace. He also said on-going examinations would not be disrupted by the incident.

"The school is now working in conjunction with security agents to maintain the existing peace," Mr Oyeleye said. "We are not ready in any form to compromise, that is why meeting holds between security operatives, Director Students Affairs, Principal Officers of the university." The Police Command's Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi also assured that the victim would be rescue. He also gave assurance that the kidnappers would be arrested in due course, as the authority is closing on the criminals.

"We are on trail of the suspect kidnappers and the community is equally assisting us on this, and so far we are getting positive results," Mr Adejobi told Next. "We have deployed three teams of our men into the town to comb the area." He said the state Commissioner of Police, at the weekend travelled to the town over the case, pointing out that students have been warned not to embark on any violence of any form to avoid community clash.

"We are also working hand in hand with the students body, university authority as well as the community to get to the root of the matter, and by God's grace we are going to rescue the victim and arrest the suspects. We don't want any community clash as it happened about five years ago,' he said.

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