On Saturday Oct. 16, at 21 minutes past 4:00pm WAT, Emma Umeh, a member of the Nigerian major opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) tweeted that he had just escaped gunshots at his party’s congress in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Following Umeh’s tweet was a tweet by Adedayo Ridwan: “Stay safe bro.”
Ridwan was a final year student of the University of Ibadan. He had no idea of what awaited him later that day.
Barely six hours later, he was shot dead by suspected armed robbers in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
On Saturday night, HumAngle gathered that Ridwan had ordered shawarma at Nina’s Shawarma located around Preboye complex, a few meters away from the institution’s main gate.
While waiting for his order outside the store, an armed gang gunned him down and carted away his phone.
Suspects communicate victim’s classmates afterwards
After news of his death reached his coursemates, they took to their class WhatsApp group to find out what happened.
“God this must not be true,” one of his classmates wrote. As similar messages where they expressed doubt about the possibility of his death continued to filter in, one of them noticed that the deceased’s WhatsApp status indicated that he was online.
“He also viewed the group messages,” a baffled classmate, hoping the news of his death was false, wrote.
As this new state of confusion began to cloud their understanding of the scenario, a message from the late Ridwan’s phone was dropped on the group’s WhatsApp page by an unknown person.
In the message, the classmates were warned not to make attempts to reach the number again.
“Know go far na thief collect your friends (phone) if you did not want to die young don’t message this again I have to you everything,” the poorly written message read.
“I messaged the person despite the warning,” Femi Adeniran, a close friend of the deceased told HumAngle, in a somber voice on Sunday night.
In a screenshot of the short conversation between Adeniran and the unknown person shared with this reporter, he warned the suspect that God is watching the action of every individual.
In response, the suspect, in another set of poorly written and typo-filled messages, told him that whether one engages in a good or bad act, it’s still on God because he created all individuals for various things.
Growing, unchecked insecurity in Oyo State
The death of the undergraduate was a reflection of the growing spate of unchecked insecurity in the immediate environment of the University of Ibadan and the state at large.
Over the last few months, students who live in neighbouring communities to the university known as Nigeria’s premier university, go to bed with their eyes barely closed because of fear of unexpected gun-carrying visitors in the middle of the night.
Multiple cases of armed robbery have taken over these areas, prominent among which is Agbowo, a community that houses the majority of the students’ populace.
On July 9, seven houses were robbed in various parts of the area, with one victim sustaining gunshot wounds while many others sustained various degrees of injuries.
This attack, which represents just one in a wave of similar occurrences, prompted the students’ Union Government of the institution to release a statement calling for the deployment of security operatives to the areas
Despite assurances that security would be beefed up in the community, robbery cases have continued to persist, findings by HumAngle showed.
On the same night that Ridwan was robbed and killed, another UI student was also robbed around Yemetu area, a community that is home to medical students of the institution.
“I left my room at Yemetu after 7 pm on Saturday with just my ATM card to withdraw inside UCH,” Dayo Adesokan, a clinical year student of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Ibadan, narrates to HumAngle.
“On my way back around Omolewa Nursery and Primary school, I saw these guys in a car and thought they were probably trying to ask for directions, they just parked beside me and one of them jumped down demanding for my phone.”
“I thank God my phone was not with me because if it was, I might have dragged it with them and probably they might have done something disastrous.”
“So they collected my ATM card; they collected the money I went to withdraw. It was like I withdrew the money for them. Since yesterday, they’ve been trying to use my ATM although I have blocked it but I kept receiving alerts of fake tokens. They’ve tried bitcoin on paystack and all.”
Speaking further with HumAngle, Adesokan expressed concern about the general state of security in the state. “I don’t know if the government is even aware of what is going on presently,” he noted in a slightly withdrawn voice.
‘It’s not a robbery case’
Meanwhile, Akeju Oluwasegun, the President of the university’s students’ union, says the institution’s management has taken multiple steps to get to the root of the incident, noting that the attack on Ridwan did not look like a robbery incident.
“The thing is that the kind of scenario does not look like it was an armed robbery because some people said they saw him have a conversation with them and it doesn’t look like there was a struggle or there was a sign of danger,” Oluwasegun said.
“It was like they knew each other. They didn’t even take his car, they didn’t take his ATM card. They just picked his phone. So the Police believe that it might be because they don’t want them to trace the call that they used to trace him to the place,” he added.
The Students’ Union leader further told HumAngle that there is no doubt that there is a need to find a lasting solution to recurring cases of insecurity in the state capital, especially the student community.
“We have communicated that to the government as much as we can. There was a time that we even met the Commissioner of Police here. We’ve had different encounters with different police officers but what we noticed is that whenever we have these things, we just see that they would patrol the place for a few days and after that stop.”
“Now, there is a need for a permanent solution because it is becoming too frequent that we can’t rely on promises alone but actions.”
Police Public Relations Officer in the state did not respond to enquiries sent to his private phone line as of the time of filing this report.
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