May God continue to protect us and our loved ones. How could one even start to explain this...
In the night of August 13, 2015 – around 12 midnight – Bimbola (not real name) and her roommate returned from a night reading class in preparation for their forthcoming exam in November, locked their room and were about to sleep when they heard their hostel mates jamming their doors, screaming and walking up the hostel stairs.
Before they knew what was happening, some men were at their door and expectedly, they forced the door open. “Come out now or we will kill you!”
With fear and trembling, Bimbola and her roommate did their bidding. Three hefty fearful-looking men, clad in black polos and jeans, armed with guns, machetes and axes had stormed their hostel – located in the Under G Area of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State – and demanded that all the students, both male and female, should gather in one room.
While one of the hoodlums stayed with the students, pointing guns at them should they ‘misbehave,’ the other two locked the entrance to the hostel, ransacked all rooms one after the other, stole the students’ laptops, money, debit cards, tablets and mobile phones.
But even after stealing all their property, the robbers were not done. The next command they gave the students was what Bimbola has not yet gotten over with.
She narrated her painful, unimaginable and dehumanising ordeal to PUNCH Metro in a very tearful interview last Monday. The dry white handkerchief she was holding was soaked with tears after trying to stop weeping for a while, but couldn’t resist it.
She told Punch: “They raped some girls in our presence, but not only that, they asked us to start having sex with ourselves. They called from among us a guy and a girl and asked them to have sex with themselves, right in everybody’s presence.
They threatened to use their weapons on us if we didn’t cooperate. Then they asked all of us to strip naked. Since it was in the night, most of us ladies already had only our night gowns on, while most of the guys were just putting on boxers.
They said we should all be naked. When they were satisfied, they called another pair of students to do the same thing and told everybody to watch. For about three hours, they dehumanised us, humiliated us. Unfortunately, nobody in the next hostel knew what was going on; if anyone knew, they would have helped us to call the police or the Student Union Government officials.”
But what was more pathetic about Bimbola’s story was that she didn’t just witness the whole action; she was also asked to have sex with a guy she never dated. “Everything happened like it was a dream. They pointed at a guy I knew as my junior and asked him to do ‘it’ with me.
When I refused, they slapped me and I fell. I had no option than to do it. I looked at my roommate and she was already shedding tears for me. How humiliated I was!” she cried. She continued: “It was not a night to remember. I wish I could erase it from my memory. My friend and I returned to the hostel that night after reading in the school because our exam is fast approaching. If I knew something like that would happen, I would have stayed in the school till the morning, but I needed to prepare for the following day’s work.
I had just finished having a shower when my roommate and I observed something was wrong. There was no light, so we couldn’t see properly, but we observed that our hostel mates were all jamming their doors at some men’s command.
“They cramped all of us in one of the rooms upstairs and we were all frightened. My parents are not yet aware of this incident and I don’t wish to share it with anyone again. I only agreed to speak to you because my friend here encouraged me to and I feel something should be done by the authorities concerned to stop this barbarism. I know I’ll be fine soon.”
Since July when they resumed for the semester, the students of LAUTECH have been witnessing robbery attacks and rape by the same set of unknown men – who call themselves ‘Three MOPOLs’ each time they barge into their victims’ hostels. Though the institution is non-residential, individuals and private organisations provide accommodation for the students around the university.
An official of the institution, with whom some of the victims and eyewitnesses had shared their ordeal with, told Saturday PUNCH that they confided in him saying they were asked to have sex with other female students during the robbery operations.
“I believe it is more than what meets the eyes. This is not an ordinary robbery. Normal robbers take what they want and leave. They would not ask students to all be in one room, tell them to go unclad, rape the female ones and still tell their victims to have sex with one another. It is a disgusting thing and as a parent myself, I have been unhappy since I started hearing the bad experiences of some of our students,” he said.
The President of the SUG of the institution, Olatunde Bakare, said he had been personally leading a team of student vigilantes since July due to the alleged nonchalant attitude of the police and the school management previously.
The Public Relations Officer of the institution, Mr. Lekan Fadeyi, said the insinuation that the university management didn’t do anything on the rape and robbery incidents was far from the truth. He said the school had, before the incidents, teamed up with landlords of students’ hostels in hiring security officials to patrol the hostels. He, however, said it was a challenge providing security for the over 4,000 students of the institution, being a non-residential one.