Everyone should be alarmed at the crimes committed at NANS zonal election
Two crimes — a murder in cold blood and a robbery at gun point — came out of a zonal election of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). You would be permitted if you thought that body was the National Association of Nigerian Brigands (NANB).
That is how low things have got, for Nigerian tertiary students and their decadent politics.
Right on the campus of Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Magam Elvis, a final-year Law student and delegate to the NANS zonal election from the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Akwa Ibom State, was shot dead in cold blood. His assailants, when the smoke cleared, were rival cult groups from his home university.
Already arrested for Elvis’ murder, according to Bayelsa State police sources, are Emmanuel Ebere, Obiakarije Innocent and Inbong Ben, all allegedly involved in the free-for-all shooting, knifing and clubbing that turned a once serene university campus into a cult war and slaughter zone.
On route to the FUO venue of the election, another hideous daylight robbery was on.
The alleged victims: Ayo Kehinde, Jamiu Salahudeen and Nwanya Chonso, among others; fellow students travelling to the Otuoke election venue. It was about 11am, on the Isaac Boro Expressway, Yenagoa.
Among the alleged robbery suspects, since arrested, according to police sources, is Perewari Benjamin, a 400-level student of Niger Delta University (NDU) and Bayelsa State NANS president. He is accused by the police of leading seven other suspected cultists to rob.
The other seven suspects nabbed with Benjamin are Asari Enabong, Suoguai Bina, Ibe Ogbonna, Igbanibo Tari, Ekperi Kenneth, Kemefie Ebimene and Chukwuma Lawrence.
The police say they were arrested with two locally-made single-barrel pistols, two live ammunition and charms.
This is the low level of decadence and savagery student union politics has fallen. It is not flattering to anyone.
But it is no time to lament, at the umpteenth rape of the civilising and humanising influence of university, nay tertiary, education. It is rather time to call for stiff and fast action and say: never again!
But first, aside of the certainty of the crimes — a murder and a robbery indeed took place – all other things are allegations. It is true some citizens are in police net. But it is also true that they are suspects, whose innocence is presumed, until carefully investigated, diligently prosecuted and dutifully convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Indeed, the criminality that masquerades as “students’ politics” has mushroomed only because between orchestrated arrests and trials in court (if ever there is one), evidence always vanishes. Because of lack of stern conviction to punish these felons, making of them severe examples to others, the criminals return to the students cocoon to commit yet more crimes, giving the majority of the students a bad name .
That is the evil cycle that must be broken.
That is why the Bayelsa State Police Command must ensure these accused persons have their day in court. The well and truly guilty should face such iron cast charges; they should end up paying for their crimes. The Nigerian university system ought to be a bastion of excellence in everything noble and golden and decent; not a rogue gallery for the malcontent and the frustrated.
The time is now to save that crucial aspect of our national life, and give the Nigerian tertiary education system a rebirth.