HomeNewsFear of robbers, kidnappers grips UNICAL, CRUTECH

Fear of robbers, kidnappers grips UNICAL, CRUTECH

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Following frequent attacks by armed robbers and
kidnappers on the University of Calabar and the Cross River
State University of Technology, Calabar, many of their
students and members of staff now live in fear.
Only last week, precisely on May 2, gunmen stormed the
UNICAL staff quarters and abducted the wife of a lecturer,
Mrs. Nancy Ndifon, alongside her daughter, Oyebah, who is
a student of the university.
The same gunmen, our correspondent gathered, also
abducted a medical doctor, David Iniama, on the premises
as he was driving into his residence.
The two examples seem to be the latest in several cases of
robbery, rape and abduction at both institutions.
In March, gunmen suspected to be robbers had also invaded
the UNICAL staff quarters, ransacking lecturers’ houses,
including that of a medical consultant, Dr. Wilfred Ndifon,
whose wife and daughter were victims of the latest kidnap.
According to the Chairmen of the UNICAL and CRUTECH
branches of Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr. Tony
Eyang and Dr. Emmanuel Ettah, respectively, the
development has instilled fear in the residents just as it has
affected the quality of education in the schools.
They noted in a statement, “The kidnappings in UNICAL
remind us of the increasingly alarming insecurity across the
country and the danger that academics are exposed to. The
kidnappings bring to the fore the porous security situation in
the university, which members of staff have always drawn
the attention of the university and security agencies.
“Time and again there have been cases of armed robbery
attacks on the staff quarters. The university security
personnel are apparently ill-equipped to tackle the
criminals.
“The ugly situation has generated an atmosphere of fear and
uncertainty, with a devastating impact on teaching and
learning. Normalcy in the university can only be restored by
the immediate release of the abducted persons. The
psychological trauma occasioned by the kidnappings cannot
be adequately described.”
At both institutions, which share unfenced boundaries with
the creeks of the Calabar estuaries, our correspondent
learnt that cases of theft occur daily at the residential
quarters and in some of the hostels.
The same situation obtains at the University of Calabar
Teaching Hospital, which is also within the neighbourhood.
The porous boundary at the hospital has also left workers
and patients at the mercy of marauders.
For a UNICAL female student, Susan Okoro, the university
community has been living in fear in the last few months,
following increasing cases of robbery attacks.
She lamented, “Apart from these big cases of robbery, the
increasing cases of petty thefts along the way leading out of
the small gate of the school are going on unabated. We lose
our GSM phones daily to petty thieves along the streets. The
university seems now to be a safe haven for armed robbers
and kidnappers.”
Speaking on the development, the state Chairman of the
Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Offiong Ikpeme, regretted
that health and university workers had become targets of
armed robbery attacks in the last couple of months.
Beside the incidence of crime, authorities of the CRUTECH
say the institution is under the threat of land speculators.
Aggrieved students and workers of the university had a few
months ago protested against the growing insecurity on
campus following the activities of land speculators allegedly
from Efut community.
The protesters, acting under the aegis of the Association of
Residents of Staff Quarters, CRUTECH Calabar campus,
conveyed their petition in a letter delivered to the Vice-
Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Anthony Owan-Enoh.
The Chairman of the association, Dr. Samuel Ntino, noted
that crime had increased in the institution.
He said, “You are aware that for some time, the main
campus became the subject of constant raids by robbers
and hired assassins. Frustrated resident workers on the
main campus took their fate in their hands by sourcing
alternative security arrangements.”
A UNICAL lecturer, Mr. Ugoji Nwabueze, who said that
robbers constantly attacked the student hostels, added that
the encroachment had resulted in the desecration of the
academic community.
But a CRUTECH lecturer, Dr. Oyo Oyo-Ita, was more scathing
in his appraisal of the development. He said, “The security
on campus is very porous.
“Armed robbery is a daily thing, while burglary is a minute
by minute thing. A large portion of the institutions is not
fenced. The majority of those who enter the school pass
through many illegal entries.”
Meanwhile, the UNICAL Public Relations Officer, Mr. Effiong
Eyo, said the institution had increased security presence on
campus.
He said, “There is a strong security presence on campus. We
have also increased the patrols in areas where we have the
neighbouring community encroaching into our land. The
university had sometime in the past written to the Federal
Government to carry out perimeter fencing of the campus,
but we have yet to receive any response.”

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