Boko Haram Scare In UI And Uniben
The fear of the terrorist Islamic sect, Boko Haram, on Monday seized the University of Ibadan and University of Benin as rumours went round that the institutions were marked for attack.
In Ibadan, security was heightened as security agents clad in bulletproof vests and wielding AK-47 rifles were deployed in the main entrance to the University campus in Agbowo. All vehicles going into the campus were thoroughly searched.
Traffic into the university and the neighbouring Agbowo and Samonda communities was unusually heavy and students and visitors to the institution showed anxiety. In Benin, security was beefed up at the Ugbowo and Ekheuan areas.
While UI said it responded to speculations that the university was one of the seven earmarked to be bombed by Boko Haram, UNIBEN said it had received threat that it would be bombed.
“When we heard the rumour of threat to bomb U.I, we did not want to take chances. We’ve heard of experiences in the past, especially the recent bombing of the UN House in Abuja as well as the Force headquarters which left several people dead,” the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Elijah Bamigboye, told newsmen.
The essence of the security beef up, Bamigboye said, was to sensitise the academic community to the rumour.
He said, “We directed the security department to step up the screening of all vehicles into the campus. My car too was subjected to a thorough search this morning.”
The professor, however, expressed regrets over the bomb scare which he noted could tarnish the image of the nation’s universities. He said the threat came at a time when U.I had rebuilt its image as an international university.
“You can imagine if such international people (foreign lecturers and students) were to come to UI now and face this situation. Of course, they will go back and who knows, they could go back to their country to spread the information that Nigerian universities are not safe,” he said.
In Benin, the Registrar of the university, Dr. G. O. Ogboghodo, was said to have received an e-mail threat from a group that describes itself as Boko Haram. The e-mail allegedly threatened that the university would be bombed between Monday and Saturday this week.
UNIBEN’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Harrison Osareneren, confirmed that the mail was indeed received.
He said, “They sent it through firstname.lastname@example.org to the email@example.com. They said in regard to the eradication of western education in Nigeria, this university has been shortlisted among the other 19 universities that will experience series of bomb blasts.
“They said, ‘Please, this is not a threat, it is an instruction and should be strictly adhered to. This exercise shall kick-off from 12th of September to the 17th in any of the days. May Allah bless us.’”
The school management has also issued a circular to staff and students alerting them of the development and the need to be more security conscious.
The state commissioner of police, Mr. David Omajola, when contacted, said, “We have sent our men. We are not taking chances.”
Boko Haram, meaning Western education is sin, was reportedly founded in 2002 in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, and set as its mission the establishment of Shariah law and Islamic government in Nigeria.
Between 2002 and now, over 750 people have been killed in attacks by the sect.
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