The Students’ Union President of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Comrade Olatunji Adegboye was arrested for alleged cultism on February 9, by men of the Ogun State Police Command in Ilaro.
Adegboye, who is a final year student of Banking and Finance, became the Students’ Union President in December, 2019. He was said to be caught during initiation rites
Police Public Relations Officer DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a statement, said the he was caught with one other student in full regalia of the dreaded Black Axe cult group. Oyeyemi said the arrest followed information received from the members of the public in the area.
He said:”The duo were arrested following information received by the police at the Ilaro division from members of the public that a group of people suspected to be cultists were sighted in a bush at Gbogidi area of Ilaro where they were trying to initiate new members into their dreaded group.
“On receiving the information, the DPO, Ilaro division, CSP Olayemi Jacob, mobilised his patrol team and swiftly moved to the scene where the two suspects were arrested with the assistance of members of the public, while others escaped through the bush.
‘’The two arrested cultists, who were in full regalia of the dreaded Black Axe cult, were taken into custody at the Ilaro Divisional Headquarters where they are being currently interrogated.”
Subsequently, Olatunji was paraded at the police headquarters in Eleweran Abeokuta. After spending about five days in custody without being charged to court, the National Association of Nigerian Students NANS threatened to embark on a protest.
However, the protest did not hold due to the intervention of Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun, which resulted to dialogue.
Thereafter, Adegboye was charged to court. He was arraigned by the police at Ifo Magistrate Court where he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
He was granted bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum.
When the news of his arrest broke, Adegboye was impeached by the Student Parliament on Monday. His suspension by the school management followed the same day. He was replaced by Comrade Damilare Oyelusi.
His suspension was contained in a statement issued by the Deputy Registrar and Head of Public Relations of the polytechnic, Sola Abiala.
The statement reads in part: “This is consequent upon the foiling of the meeting of some cult groups from the neighbouring community by the security architecture and network of the polytechnic, the local vigilance group in conjunction with the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services.
“The suspension of Mr. Adegboye is in line with the act establishing the polytechnic and the provisions of the students handbook coupled with the polytechnic’s zero tolerance for cultism, pending his appearance before the students disciplinary committee to establish his culpability or otherwise.”
Adegboye drops suicide note
Adegboye shocked many when he dropped a suicide note on his Facebook page last Saturday, accusing the school management of being responsible for his predicament. He threatened to commit suicide, claiming there was no one to fight for him since his case was adjourned.
In the suicide note, he lamented his plight, saying he was fighting for the hike in accommodation fees by the management and now he has been abandoned to his fate. He also said no one should mourn him after his death.
The suicide note reads: “Glory be to God for this probably the last breath in my nostrils, no matter how faint it may seem. More importantly, this may be the last thing I write since my hope to write statement of accounts, proffer economic solutions to the Nigerian financial problems has been dashed and shattered by the powers that be.
“I accepted to study Banking and Finance to fulfill my dreams but all I live to write now is a suicide note.
“I was arrested on February 9, 2020, and got transferred to the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Eleweran, Ogun State. I was detained for 144 days on February 17, 2020.
It’s been 114 days now since my case got adjourned, and to my utmost dismay, no individual or group has done anything to raise my hope.
“They say if you are silent in the days of adversity, you have taken the side of the oppressor. Now the question is, “Who is raising a voice in my favour?”
“Is it a crime to stand against the management for the students who gave me a mandate to defend their interests?
“Is it a crime for me to object the hike in accommodation price in the interest of striving Nigerian students?
“Is it a crime for me to send a red signal to the management in their quest to increase school fees, while pointing them to other means of IGR to execute their projects?
“Let no one mourn me when I finally pass on, for when I needed the continued support of activists, comrades, stakeholders, and sane individuals in the society to make me strong this trying time, no one was seen.”
Reacting to the sucide note, Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said Adegboye should rather defend himself in court instead of going ahead to commit suicide. He said the suicide threat by the former SU president was not the business of the police, adding that he only tried to whip up sentiments.
I was drugged, and unlawfully impeached – Adegboye alleges
Speaking with CampusLife, Adegboye said he was drugged on the day the incident occurred. He stated that he could only remember that some people were running and he was thereafter arrested by the men of the vigilance group who he thought were coming to rescue him.
“Some people started beating me although I saw some people running and I saw the vigilante people coming, I even thought they wanted to rescue me.
“They arrested me and threatened me. They said: You’re the one who can fight for students, you’re the one who knows how to talk; let’s see how you’re going to talk now. With those words, I believed they planned it”.
He said the Students Representatives Council (SRC) were forced to impeach him by the Rector the day after the incident occurred.
“I was impeached by the Students Representatives Council (SRC) without even calling me to any panel. They were forced to impeach me by the Rector. They didn’t call me to any panel, they didn’t ask me what happened.”
Unjust hike in tuition and accommodation fee
He noted that there has been yearly hike in tuition fee in the school as well as house rent which he had been trying to fight.
He said: “The management do increase the tuition fee every year. Also, the CDA and CDC increase house rent because they know that the school do increase tuition, hence, they use the opportunity to increase house rent every year.
“This is a federal school; there are some state universities that don’t pay up to my school. But the students cannot speak up,’
Prior to the incident, he said he and his exco held a meeting with the landlord association in Ilaro on February 6, calling for a reduction but it later resulted into a fight with them.
“Two people called me after that day that what I did was wrong— fighting with the CDA and CDC members. They said I should be very careful that anything could happen.
“Then during my arrest, the vigilance group men told the Police Commissioner that they saw about 40 people, but I was the only one arrested.”
Why I wrote suicide note
When asked why he dropped a suicide note on his Facebook page, Adegboye said he did so out of frustration.
“I was frustrated and depressed. I believed everybody had abandoned me to my fate, even my friends. No calls, nothing. I don’t have money, I don’t have anything.
“I have my own work, I write projects but I didn’t have access to my systems since the incident occurred. During that period, I had three systems; two were in my office with my speaker. I was prevented from getting my system.”
Adegboye disclosed that the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has been trying its best for him and other student bodies have also pledged their support. He, however, called for support from fellow students.
“My fellow Nigeria students should also support me. Although I know that FPI students cannot speak because they still have the fear in them. But I believe other students will also support me because injustice to one is an injustice to all
“What happened to me might have happened to any other person. If we don’t stop it now, it will definitely reoccur. We must stop it now so that this issue will serve as a lesson to others.”
FPI students speak, call for justice
Some of the students of the polytechnic who spoke with CampusLife are demanding that justice be served right on Adegboye.
Speaking with CampusLife, Mulikat Adeleye, an ND2 student of Hospitality Management, described the SU President as a very straight forward and calm person.
“I have never related with him before but anytime I see him on campus even before he became the president, he was always calm and spoke responsibly.
“I don’t think he needs to be suspended and given too much punishment. So far, they are unable to bring out concrete evidence against him. We have rights to so many things, so he should still have right to his education.”
Mulikat charged the police and other law enforcement agents involved in the matter to ensure thorough investigation so the innocent would not be punished unjustly.
Simisola Kehinde, an ND2 Banking and Finance student, stated that the Rector ought to be considerate before taking any actions against him.
Her words: “I don’t really know much about him, all I know is that he is our president. Before his arrest, he was trying to put some things in order by protesting the increment of house rent.
Another student identified as Ayomide Ajayi, Business Administration, said: “I have been expecting that decision of the school management on the matter. The school is truly ripe for transformation into university but some of the policies against its products make it seem like a secondary school. I pray God sees us through this case.’’
Another student who pleaded annoymity noted that Adegboye’s arrest appears to be a set up.
“The day he was arrested, the porter on duty testified to it that he left in the morning greeting him. I was in my room when he was arrested and brought to the hostel. They searched everywhere but nothing was found.
“The story that was circulated was that he was caught with his gang members. I’ve lived in a vicinity where cultists show off, so I know little about their actions. There should be a thorough investigation of the matter to ensure justice,” he said.
NANS set to hold protest
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) said plans have been concluded to have a mother of all protests in Abeokuta over the alleged victimisation of Adegboye.
The protest tagged: “National Day of Action against Victimisation of Student leaders by institutions’ managements” is expected to hold in the first week of July.
NANS noted that the protest would be used to demand his reinstatement as a SU president.
The National Vice President of NANS, Ojo Raymond, while addressing reporters in Abeokuta on Sunday, disclosed that the National Executive Council had approved the planned protest.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently set up a panel to probe ongoing projects at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro.
The NANS National Vice President also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to investigate how funds have been utilised since the appointment of Dr. Olusegun Aluko as its Rector.
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP) Ilaro Chapter in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Com. Emmanuel Ademola and Foluso Faparusi on Monday warned the suspended Student Union President, comrade Adegboye Olatunji to desist from attacking the rector of the institution and his members.
ASUP said that the allegations against the rector and it’s members are baseless and nothing but a white lie.
The Union vowed that any further attempt to tarnish the image of its members will be viewed with utmost seriousness.
The statement reads in part: ”The attention of the union has been drawn to various allegations leveled against members of our union by the suspended SUG president of the student union, Comrade Adegboye Emmanuel Olatunji in the media.
“To this end, the union wishes to state thus: “That his allegation of teaching academic staff data analysis is not only false but baseless and insultive to the integrity of academic standard of our institution, we therefore in totality, condemn such a nasty statement which is aimed at derogating the quality of the lecturers in our institution.”
Meanwhile all attempts to reach the Rector of the institution, Dr Segun Aluko proved abortive as he failed to answer his calls and didn’t respond to messages sent to him.