The nexus of campus crimes, insecurity and the management at Beyero University, Kano (BUK), has been described over time as a locus of pain and a plague with severe consequences. It has received different classifications according to their severity which requires sensitive and independent attention.
Threat to academic pursuits
Insecurity in any university campus has been a threat to the pursuits of academic aspirations. Higher institutions in Nigeria have stories of insecurity. As such, in a recent development, it was reported in the institution’s weekly bulletin that the vice chancellor of the university, Professor Muhammad Yahuza Bello, had set up a security appraisal committee to overturn its security challenges and to design a modern method in order to strengthen the security manpower of the university so as to ensure zero tolerance to crimes on campuses.
Professor Bello has advised members of the university staff to shun the habits of protecting their children or relatives who commit offence in the university. Such bad habit was among the key factors that are making the security situation uncontrollable. He thus pleaded with the committee to work hard and complete their assignment before the next retreat.
“No matter how the number of personnel one had, it was not possible for them to cover each and every kilometre. That was why Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) was used in the old campus in order to reduce the challenges of security,” he said.
As reports had shown overtime, campus violence and crime is a threat to any school. However, there has never been a virtue to engage in any form of incriminating act in the campus because it has never added to the university progress rather than retarding its development and denting its good image.
Tales of campus crime
One of the victims of campus crimes in BUK, Victoria Ochene told her tale from the experience she garnered from last session when she was attacked.
She said that she came back from a night vigil around three o’clock in the morning, passing through the old Agric department of the new campus. But as she entered her hostel (Asiya hall) criminals assaulted her.
“I was at the front of my hostel room, third floor, waiting for my roommates to open the door for me. After I knocked the door, I just heard a voice from behind, ‘give me your phone now’. Before I could understand what was happening, the guy stabbed me at the back of my neck. I let out a scream that drew my hall mates outside. But before my hall mates could come out, the criminal was already gone with my phone.” she said.
She said following the incident, the spot became crowded with female colleagues while she was lying in the floor with pain and blood gushing out. One of the students called the security division through the help number at the back of her I.D card. Some security personnel arrived after a while and took her to the university clinic.
However, when she got to the clinic, she was given maximum first aid by the nurses and more treatment afterwards by doctors on duty. She said she spent six days in the clinic.
Goodwill from lecturers and colleagues
During those days, the VC visited her often to find out how she was feeling. Many other university personalities visited her too. Among them were heads of various departments, dean of student affairs, Student Union Government (SUG) officials and lecturers, with supports. The injury, she said, (touching the place on her neck) took five weeks before it got healed totally.
“The Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) and All Christian fellowship associations on the campus as well as many students visited me too.” She said.
The criminal is male or female?
She added that a lecturer asked her if she was sure whether the person that stabbed her was male. Victoria revealed that she noticed the person was male because of his voice. She said the guy wore black T-shirt but she could not recognise his face as there was a blackout that night.
In a similar vein, Mubarak Aminu from Engineering department spoke about his worst night at BUK. On that night he was robbed of his new phone and laptop while reading at Etisalat outlet reading point at about one o’clock on 2019 Easter Monday. He also revealed his trauma from the incident that caused him to spend two weeks in the school clinic. He was hit by interlock concrete block at the back of his head from behind and he fainted.
“On that night, I was lying on the floor untill the intervention of SUG secretary-general (Jafar kpaki) who was passing through that route and came to help me to the clinic.
“I sustained minor fracture in my skull which required surgery, the doctor who referred me to Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) said.
“I met a consultant there and he said the injury was not a severe one so no need for surgery. Even at that, I had headache for five days until I saw the doctor and he gave me more treatment plus drugs that will sustain me for more than six weeks”.
Analysing the trends of insecurity and criminalities in the university community, the director of security division, BUK, Navy Captain Dan-Agundi explained the security operations and protective measures adopted against criminal behaviours on campuses. He said across campuses, there were static guards security deployment, mobile patrols and intelligence surveillances.
On the issue of theft, the captain said one major problem of motorcycle theft facing the security operation in the campus was the violation of laws. Most of the motorcycle riders don’t usually park at the designated parking areas on the campuses and come to campus with non registered motorcycles. “The greater part of it is that students and staff are not helping matters. You see, every citizen is supposed to be law abiding. One thing that we don’t tolerate is that people enter the campus with unregistered motorcycles and without number plates which is a double offense. With these complaints, we have received reports from Police, Civil Defence and SSS about these incidents.
They have changed the pattern for us and the intelligence they wanted is just for us to implement is a problem because of attitudes of students and staff.
“In the first place, it is the law of the nation. You can’t just ride about unregistered motorcycle. It is only in this part of the world that we are doing these. Cross over to Niger Republic, or to Chad, or
Cameroun, or still go to Benin Republic, you can’t ride anything unregistered, they will arrest you because it is a criminal offence”
“As I am talking to you now, from resumption date up to this morning, there were not less than 10 cases of motorcycle thefts and all of them were those who parked at undesignated places,” he said.
Insufficient security personnel
He said from October 2017 to September 2018, there were 121 robbery cases, eight burglaries, six vandalisation of university property, four drug peddling and 13 road accidents within the university.
The naval officer gave more insight on security deployment on the campuses, saying that there were 93 beats while each personnel has eight-hour watch before a shift of operation.
However, he highlighted some lapses in the operations of the guards. Firstly, insufficient number of guards, negligence, low level of commitment among the guards and the location of the bank. Adding to the problem is that some people use that as an advantage to gain access to the campus with mischievous plans and desires.
He said recently, the problems had drastically reduced because the university had raised the perimeter fence of the female hostel from Coke village side, installed barbed wires, CCTV cameras and improved environmental lighting, powered by solar energy. However the number of security personnel in some universities cannot be compared to that of BUK.
Recruit more security personnel
There is need for more recruitment to intensify security surveillance. For example,
ABU has 3,500 security personnel and 300 vigilante officers while BUK has only 500 security personnel.
“You can see the margin is too wide,”
There was an indication that many of those students caught in criminal conducts are mostly expelled students that their department failed to retrieve their I.D cards. However, as at the time of interview with the security director, a security guard brought in a motorcycle thief that was apprehended that morning (name withheld). He said it was his second time of stealing motorcycle from campus, saying he connived with two other students to carry out the act and the first one they did was sold N45000.
In his response when interviewed, the president of Zero Tolerance for Corruption club (ZTC) BUK chapter, Prince Oche Okibe Solomon, a 400-level student of faculty of Communication, said that campus crime is a disaster and an injury to students’ psychology because when students experience attack of any kind, it adds to the incessant stress they face on campus.
An injury to one is injury to all, he reminded the people, and appealed to the school management for intense security manpower so as to halt the reoccurrence of the social pest.
Abdulsalam is a 400-level student of Mass Communication Department at Bayero University, Kano.