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Re: Oau Students Flee Hostels Over Cultists Threat

By Kazeem Olalekan Israel Gcaf

Without being economical with the truth, the aim of journalism is to get people informed and the amount of information available and accessible to a populace determines their height of performance. However, in a situation where journalism becomes a tool for misinformation and destructive dissemination of information, the society will die from deformation over time.

Misinformation and peddling of lies comes as an embarrassment to the society that depends on such for its performance. This is the quagmire experienced by Obafemi Awolowo University and its public with respect to a recent report by The Nation Newspaper. The report titled "OAU STUDENTS FLEE HOSTELS OVER CULTISTS THREAT" comes knocking at this time not just as a joke but an exposure of mediocrity employed by the national daily in carrying out their job.

It is very unfortunate to note that the headline of the report does not in any way correlate with the body of the report. Though, there was an alleged cult threat (as the authenticity of the source is yet to be ascertained) three months ago which was circulating around the University community. Nonetheless, The Nation need be educated that the issue has been eased off for a very long time now as the University management embarked on a proactive step of beefing up security in the institution for the purpose of averting any attack on the University. Alas, at the end of the whole scene, there was no cultist attack and arrests were made by men of the Department of State Security and the Anti-Cult Unit of the Nigerian Police Force. However, the arrests were of no direct connection to the alleged threat but to an event that occurred few days before the threat came into existence where some outsiders came to the campus for a social event and ended up steering up a fuss.

It would be recalled that the University management in recognition of the significance of July 10 in the University environment decided to hold a memorial lecture in honour of the 5 students that were killed in the 1999 cult attack. The essence of this lecture which has never happened in the history of the University is to reiterate the commitment of the University management in showcasing her zero-tolerance to cultism and other forms of social vices.

As against the falsehood reported, at no point in time did students flee campus to reside in town as a result of threat. It smacks logic to think that students would vacate campus to live in town where robbery and all other evils are the order of the day. In fact, the heavy presence of students in town dates back to the commencement of the session, few months before the incidence. This is as a result of the management's commitment to ensure that students live in a conducive learning environment and as such coming up with policies to check overpopulation, overcrowding and overstretching of facilities on campus. Even prisoners do not deserve having a dozen or score of students in a room designed for six students or less. This residential condition has led to poor health and academic performance of students over the years. Thus, an action to address this at this point would only be combatted by enemies of progress and sanity. Though, this policy was criticized by many of us at onset, but it need be stated that the introduction and enforcement of the policy cannot be unconnected from the failure of the Federal Government to invest in education which shows how insincere and inefficient the government could be when it comes to fulfilling the social contract willingly entered into with the people.

For decades now, the Federal Government has shown that education is not a priority to them and, truth be said, the management of the University is expected to device means in changing the sad narratives of over-congestion in our hostels. The Nation Newspaper need be told that it is falsehood taken to the extreme to claim that cultists have taken over the University community. In fact, it amounts to insult on our collective intelligence as students of Obafemi Awolowo University which is referred to as the Mecca of political consciousness, the Medina of intellectualism and the Jerusalem of scientific aluta to sell such a falsehood about the University to the world. OAU remains the most peaceful and safe institution in the country and any action to truncate that stands to be effort in futility.

The general public need be told that our non-tolerance for cultism is still intact and at no point did cultists invade the University. As students, we believe that we are the trustees of posterity and that the only duty we owe to those who fought for the peace we are enjoying in the University today is to ensure that we fight cultism to a standstill as it is a duty we owe those coming behind to bequeath to them best of days that would make them know the significance of our fight against cultism.

Kazeem Olalekan Israel (GANI) is a final year Political Science student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.