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Students narrate ordeal as freshmen

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Harassment and provocation in the hands of peers, senior colleagues, and lecturers are gradually becoming a norm in the country’s higher institutions of learning, as students recount their ordeal as freshmen.

These predators often use the “we are not mates” phrase to sicken the frail and fragile-minded students and perpetrate their acts.

Sadly, the victims suffer in silence as they are either threatened or have not mustered the courage to speak up; hence they resort to unimaginable escape routes.

A student, Ighomafe Patience, recalled that in her first year, her roommates were thorns in her flesh. “Because they were at higher levels, they wanted to order me around. Dictating for me when to go out and come into the hostel. Though I tried several to resist them, it was hell,” she said.

Another Mass Communication student lamented that her seniors in the hostel used her belongings at will. “From my cooking utensils to other belongings they used at will. I cried almost every day as a freshman; the girls in the hostel had terrible characters. They will use my things and I will never find them in good shape. It was really horrible.”

Awoyemi Olamide, on her part, said: “There is a ritual in school called ‘October rush,’ where seniors pick new students they like. Help them with their schoolwork, lure them into sex and eventually dump them. This is exploitation and this should not be happening, there should be proper guidance and counseling units to guide students and also stiff measures to punish erring students.

Fatima Aliyu from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) said the main problem new students have in school is lack of focus and understanding of the new environment they are into.

“Most new students tend to forget the reason for being in school and mix with the wrong crowd; the management of schools should find a way to monitor their students’ progress in school and call those who are going astray to order,” Aliyu said.

To this end, the students appealed to parents to offer good guide to their wards before they leave for school. Then, to various school managements, they suggested a regular orientation programme for new students.


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