Kogi: Gunmen invade varsity, abduct many students



*Osara abduction: Vice Chancellor reacts

Richard Elesho

Unknown gunmen have invaded the Confluence University of Science and Technology, CUSTECH,  Osara, Kogi State, abducting an uncertain number of students. This happened on Thursday night.

According to an eyewitness account, the fully armed Bandits in their large numbers entered the school through the bush path and started shooting sporadically into the school premises at about 9 pm.

The school’s local security displayed gallantry as they engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel that lasted for over 30 minutes.

Some of the students who escaped by the whiskers said, the hoodlums invaded the school and went straight to lecture halls where the students were having tutorials preparatory for their upcoming first-semester examination.

The witness added that scores of students were feared whisked away by the gunmen, while one student sustained gunshot wounds.

However, in a statement, the Kogi State Government put the number of students kidnapped at 9 and assured that all of them would be rescued alive. Commissioner for Information and Communication while confirming the incident said the relevant security agencies have been mobilised to rescue the victims and punish the perpetrators.

“Hundreds of local hunters who understand the terrain, as well as the conventional security agents, are currently combing the area to ensure the safe rescue of the abducted students who were kidnapped in the classrooms. So far, nine students have been reported missing.

“We wish to assure students, parents, and the entire people of Kogi State that the Government is on top of the situation and all the abducted students will be rescued alive. Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo has also directed that security agents be positioned around all tertiary institutions in the State

“We wish to commend the local hunters and other security agents who rose stoutly to engage the kidnappers. Their gallantry and dedication ensured that the kidnappers did not have a field day which would have been more calamitous. The State Government will spare nothing in ensuring that all the students abducted are safely rescued and reunited with their families. We won’t submit to terror. We shall prevail.”

Efforts to reach police public relations officer, SP William Aya did not yield results.

*Osara abduction: Vice Chancellor reacts

Prof. Abdulrahman Asipita, Vice Chancellor Confluence University of Science and Technology, CUSTECH, Osara, Kogi State, has said the number of students kidnapped in Thursday’s security violation is being “ascertained.”

In his first public statement after the infraction, the Vice Chancellor said the school would remain in session but suspended lectures and other academic activities until further notice. He therefore said students who wish to go home are free to do so, while those who wish to remain on campus were assured of adequate security.

The statement authored and signed by Asipita reads”

“This is to inform the general public that Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara, experienced an unfortunate security incident on Thursday 9th May 2024, around 8:23 p.m.

“Some of our students who were gathered for tutorials ahead of their First Semester Examinations scheduled to commence on Monday, 13th May 2024, were abducted. The exact number of our students involved is being ascertained at the moment.

“His Excellency, Alh. Ahmed Usman Ododo, the Executive Governor of Kogi State and the State Security Adviser, Cmdr. Jerry Omodara, as well as the Vice-Chancellor, Engr. Prof. Abdulrahman Asipita Salawu, together with the Management Staff, swung into action immediately after they got wind of the unpleasant news by deploying members of various security agencies on rescue missions.

“His Excellency, Alh. Usman Ahmed Ododo, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, has directed that CUSTECH will remain in session and that the students abducted will be returned unhurt.

“We want to allay the fears of the public and also assure parents and guardians of our dear students who must have been involved in the incident that no stone will be left unturned till we have them back safely into our fold at CUSTECH. We do understand the present anxiety that this has generated based on this, parents who want their wards out of the campus can go ahead with such a decision as lectures and examinations are kept on hold for now till further notice. We are assuring parents and guardians who want their children to remain on campus not to fret over their safety as the situation is under control at the moment.

“We will continue to update the public on the progress we are making for the safe return of our students involved. Also and as always, proactive security measures will continue to be taken for the safety of our dear students under our care. Thank you.”