Fifty-eight (58) students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in Osun State, who were arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have reportedly regained freedom.
This followed a massive protest by students of the institution who stormed the Ibadan zonal command of the EFCC on Wednesday, demanding the release of their colleagues who they said were illegally arrested.
According to the EFCC who described the victims as internet fraudsters, only 69 students of the institution were arrested as against the over 70 students earlier reported on most media platforms across the country.
A staff of the EFCC, Eruobami who confirmed the release to journalists at 8:51pm on Wednesday said, “58 students have been released.”
In a statement, he anti-graft agency said, “they were arrested on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at Oduduwa Estate area of Ile-Ife, Osun State following actionable intelligence on their suspected involvement in fraudulent internet-related activities. Credible intelligence linked Oduduwa Estate with activities of suspected internet fraudsters,”
Recall that media reports had revealed that men of the EFCC on Wednesday, launched a midnight raid on some student hostels outside the university campus – a development which multiple sources in Ile-Ife confirmed to newsmen on Wednesday morning.
According to sources, the affected hostels were the Fine Touch and Superb hostels in Oduduwa Estate, Ile-Ife.
The sources also revealed that the anti-graft agency stormed the hostels at about 2 a.m., broke into rooms, and arrested the students.
However, the National Association of University Students, NAUS, while reeacting to the development, condemned the arrest of the students by the EFCC.
NAUS in a statement signed by its National Director of Security and Safety, Eruobami Ayobami; Deputy National President, Babalola Daniel; and the Vice Chairman of NAUS in the state, Akinyemi Hammed, faulted the process and actions of the commission.
The students body said, “it is important that as students leaders, the security and safety of our students is paramount to us and the action of the EFCC is synonymous to an action of gang of thieves and burglars.”
Meanwhile, prior to their release, the management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, had reportedly promised to send a delegation from the school to visit the Ibadan Zonal Office of the EFCC to profile those who were arrested in the early-hour raid.
This was as the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olanrewaju, who confirmed that some students of the university were arrested, could not, however, give the exact figure.
Olanrewaju, who said the intervention of the management was to ensure that the innocent students were not made to suffer, added that the situation on the campus of the institution did not last too long before calm was regained.
He said, “We are very much conscious of the fact that some people are reckless among our students. We are not acting under the illusion that our students are doing some criminal activities but what we don’t want is for the innocent ones to suffer.
“As I am talking to you now, we are on our way to Ibadan to know the exact number of our students that were arrested, we will profile them and after that, we will report to the management, then we now know what to do.”
Meanwhile, the PRO also made efforts to establish clarity against some misconceptions that students were arrested on the school campus.
Olanrewaju said, “Everywhere is calm. Please know that the students were not arrested on campus. They were arrested at different hostels outside the campus but that is not to say that we will not take care of our students.
“We can’t say that because they were arrested outside the campus; we just keep quiet like that, no. We are going to Ibadan the Zonal Office of the agency now.”See Dollar(USD) to Naira Black Market Exchange Rate Today!