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Condemnation trails beheading of Abia varsity students


The victims

The victims

• Know Where Your Children Live, VC Warns Parents
• Hostel Proprietors To Commence Identity Audit

Condemnation has continued to trail last week’s killing of two students of the Abia State University by suspected cult members. The students who were beheaded in their hostel a few kilometres from the campus are: Samuel Ethelbert, a third-year student of Political Science and Ebuka Nwaigbo, also a third-year Estate Management student. Another student, Samuel Umeaforo Chigozirim, sustained serious injuries and is said to be in a critical condition at an undisclosed hospital.

The deceased lived in a hostel along Uturu-Afikpo road and were said to have been preparing dinner when the attackers struck, decapitated them and dropped their heads on a field.

The hostel called Chidoo is privately owned, has male and female sections, and is not under the supervision of the institution’s management.

Sources have fingered rivalry between two cult fraternities: Burkina Faso and Mafia. They said the incident was fallout of the recent killing of one Collins Agwu, leader of Burkina Faso, by Mafia. The beheaded students were said to be Mafia leaders.

The university’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Uche Ikonne, told journalists on Thursday that the institution has a sustained anti-cultism programme, which, according to him, has contained the problem over the years. He wondered why students prefer to reside in vulnerable hostels, even when cheaper campus alternatives are available.

He said: “We do not have control over what happens in hostels outside the campus. We do not know the killers or where they came from. But the victims have been identified as our students. We urge parents and guardians to discourage their children and wards from residing outside the campus, especially where there are cheaper hostels on the campus with water, electricity and security.

“Students pay as low as N30,000 per session, as against the reported N140,000 charged by private hostels. It is the quest for freedom that drives students to reside in such hostels. We advise parents to know where their children reside.”

The VC extended his sympathy to the families of the victims and assured the students of adequate security. He thanked the state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, for his support adding that management of the university is working with security agencies to prevent reoccurrence and ensure that justice is done.

Governor Ikpeazu ordered the proprietors of hostels in the state to profile all students resident in their lodges. His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Godwin Adindu, said: “Such proprietors must conduct regular identity audit to ascertain the credibility of the persons in their custody, as student hostels will no more be operated as mere business venture available to whoever can pay the price.”

The traditional ruler of the community, Eze Uwadiegwu Ogbonnaya, said: “We are saddened by the incident. And unfortunately, the owner of Chidoo Hostel is not our indigene but a native of Ebonyi state. If we had the power, that hostel would not have been located there because that spot has been prone to fatal accidents. It is our byelaw that before any landlord rents out his building to a student, the student’s parents must be known and ascertained. Our community vigilance group is always at work to respond to security tip offs.”
Police spokesman DSP Ezekiel Udeviotu Onyeke said investigation into the matter has commenced.

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