OAU disowns alleged extremist student group
Prof. Grace Akinola, the acting Dean, Student Affairs (DSA), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, says only one group is recognised as Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) on the campus.
Akinola made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, in Ile-Ife. She said that a Muslim group alleged to be operating like extremist was not recognised and had been warned to stop their activities.
The officials, made the clarification after the OAU Muslim Community and University of Ife Muslim Graduates raised a disclaimer on a factional group of the MSSN.
Speaking at the sideline of a retreat organised for newly elected leaders of the OAU Students’ Union, the acting DSA explained that a disciplinary panel had been set up to look into the development.
Narrating her experience when she visited the students mosques, she said, “we first went to Awolowo mosque, when we got there, we met some demarcation in the mosque.
“There was one that we told them to open, they refused. We told them that if they don’t open it, we are going to force it open.
“After 15 minutes, one of them just made a signal and the place was opened. We went there at exactly 11am.
“When it was opened, there were 12 girls locked there and others in the room. Meanwhile, the MSSN national came and said that was how Boko Haram started in Nigeria.
“And they came to disown them that they don’t know about any evil they are perpetrating. The Muslim Community also disowned them,” she said.
Akinola explained that efforts to shut the mosque had not been successful because of alleged intervention by an alumnus of OAU currently serving in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We made moves to lock the mosque at that time. Even recently, they held a programme without taking permission from the university.
“Despite that we called them to order and warned them not to continue with the programme. I think they have people supporting them and one of them is in the current cabinet of President Muhammad Buhari.
“The university has set up a disciplinary committee to look into the matter. They will have to face disciplinary action and whatever comes out of it, will be the final.” Akinola said.
Mr Babatunde Oyatokun, the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of OAU also debunked the rumour of Boko Haram, but confirmed that there was a MSSN disclaimer on the campus. He said that this ‘illegal group’ led by one AbdulRasheed Bakare neither registered nor was recognised by DSA, adding that the group had no logo and a constitution.
The CSO further said that the only registered body of MSSN was the one headed by Akeem Idowu as recognised by the MSSN at all levels.
“Earlier, before the commencement of disclaimer of illegal programme, they were invited on Feb. 14 at the instance of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Anthony Elujoba and a riot act was read to them.
“And despite this, they were still bold enough to hold the programme, so in view of this, we have reported to the management for further reaction, in which we are waiting for their response,” he said.
The CSO clarified that the university management was taking necessary decision on the matter, saying that the group members were under surveillance.
“The way they flattered the matriculation oath means they were being indoctrinated and if university fails to expedite action on them, it might degenerate and turn to something else entirely,” he added.
Mr Abiodun Olanrewaju, the University Public Relations Officer (PRO) reiterated the position of the DSA and CSO, saying that only the registered Muslim students group was recognised and permitted to operate within the university.
While attributing the blame on some parents for abandoning their children in schools without bothering to check on them, he insisted that “there is nothing like Boko Haram on OAU campus.”