MAPOLY students at the mercy of thieves – The Nation Newspaper

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Petty thieves are on the prowl at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital stealing students’phones, especially during examinations. The students and management are squabbling over the issue. FASILAT OLUWUYI, HNDI MASS COMMUNICATION reports:

Students of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, have one major problem: stealing of their phones and personal effects.

They are appealing to the school authority to tackle the problem.

Cases of stolen items belonging to students have reached an alarming rate, despite the presence of security men on campus. Though stealing appears most prominent across departments during examinations,  checks by CAMPUSLIFE revealed that the thieves have also invaded students’ hostels  in Oluwo and Onikolobo, among others, to perpetrate their atrocities. Absolving their colleagues from the act, the students told CAMPUSLIFE they suspected that the perpetrators were outsiders who operated with the connivance of some security officials.

 

Background

 

During examinations, students are barred from taking their handsets, bags and other belongings into the exam halls. This leaves them with no other option than to drop their belongings outside the halls. However, many students discovered that after their exams, their phones, cash or their entire luggage had disappeared.

Also, students who take their phones to school to charge during lecture hours fall victim.

But the management said it was not aware of the development as the victims did not  file any complaint. It blamed the students for being careless, saying their smarter colleagues who finished exams earlier than them, might have been responsible for the thefts.

Checks by CAMPUSLIFE showed that though the management has severally warned students against bringing phones to exam halls, many ignore them.

 

Victims react

 

A victim, Mistura Gbenle, an HND 2 student of Mass Communication, said: “During our last exam, we were in joyous mood and most of us decided to take our phones to school to take pictures for great memories.

“I don’t take my phone to school during exams, unfortunately on that fateful day, I had to because my friends too decided to come with theirs.

“While we were about entering the hall, my friends and I initially kept our phones in our pocket, but the fear of being caught with phones during exam set in and we decided to keep them in a bag.

“The paper lasted three hours. I finished first and stepped out, only to see the bag on the floor with the two phones missing.

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“We even put the phones beneath the bag and wrapped some clothes around it to make them more secure. We were so devastated that day, but we couldn’t even report to the school authorities.’’

Another victim, Funmilayo Avose, an HND2 Microbiology undergraduate, recounted how she also lost her personal effects during exams.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I kept searching as if they were needles,” a bewildered Avose told CAMPUSLIFE.

“I think the school management should allocate security officials in every examination hall to secure our belongings,” she added.

Abdulqudus Ogundapo, also an HND2 Accounting student, said it had become a recurring decimal that once a particular paper was over, students would be anxious to examine their luggage to know if their personal effects were missing or not.

“My phone was stolen outside the school premises, “ Ogundapo recounted.

He continued: “I usually advise my friends not to take their phones and bags to exams because I’m aware that some people don’t go near the halls to write exams, but to steal,” he said.

Oluwafunmilola Sopeju, an HND2 Pharmaceutical Technology student, recalled how, after her exam, she lost a bag containing four phones and two ATM cards.

“After searching the premises thoroughly, we later saw the bag, but everything inside it, including the phones and ATM cards, had disappeared.”

Similarly, Ayomikun Falegbe, an HND2 Pharmaceutical Technology undergraduate, narrated how he gave her phone to a course mate for keep, only to find out later that the bag housing his gadget and that of his colleague’s phone and ATM card, had disappeared.

“On getting to the bank to complain about the lost ATM card, we discovered that all my” money in the account had been withdrawn, Falegbe said.

Emmanuel Oladokun, an HND2 student of Business Administration, also shared his encounter. “After I finished my exam, I came outside the hall to pick my bag. I searched everywhere, but I couldn’t find it. I also called the security officials and asked my friends whom I thought were playing pranks on me.

“Immediately my friends said they were not responsible, I rushed to other halls close by to check for it.

“During the process, my friend and I walked past one of our lecturers, who asked if I had informed the school security and I said yes. He (lecturer) then advised us to write a letter of missing property. Rather than do that, I quickly rushed down to the bank. There, I discovered that they had already started manipulating my account. I just asked them to block it immediately. Unluckily for me, they had withdrawn N70,000 and N20,000 with two ATM cards  that I use for my two accounts.

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“I felt so bad because the money wasn’t mine. I went through a lot during the period and it was very challenging for me because I had to return the money that was stolen from my account, as the owner wasn’t ready to tolerate any excuses.”

Students’ Union reacts

The Students’ Union President-elect, Samson Omoniyi Idowu, said the union was aware of the ugly trend.

Speaking through his Public Relations Officer, Johnson Johnson, Idowu said SU would look into the issues as soon as the new executive was inaugurated.

“The issues of phone theft and bags getting missing during exams have been something that I’m aware of, but I cannot speak on the measures put in place by the past administration.

“But during the last academic session, we tried as much as possible to sensitise students that they are the number one security of themselves.

“You are the first person to secure yourself before anybody can secure your property or your life. So, as much as possible, we always advise them not to come with their phones and their bags; anything that is important to them should be kept at home.

“Even the school constitution and students’ handbook stated that bags should not be brought to exam halls likewise mobile phones, as possession of phones in examination halls amount to malpractice.

“Also, as much as we have it in a sane society, we cannot have security men coming into the exam halls because of the nature of human beings. We cannot afford to create tension for the students; that is why security guards will not be available in the exam halls, but within the vicinity of the halls where students will hardly notice them.”

Management reacts

Luke Adelaja of the Directorate of Student Affairs said the school was not aware of most of the incidents.

“All these things you’re telling me is not in our record. Though from the school security reports, we had some cases of phones and bags being stolen,” Adelaja told CAMPUSLIFE.

“Such things have never been reported in our office. We are not aware of it.”

The school’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Yemi Ajibola, corroborated Adelaja.

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“I am not even aware of any stolen phones,” Ajibola said.

“Let’s assume a matter has been reported to the police, and the culprit turns out not to be our student; and the case wasn’t reported to the school authority, then we have nothing to say about it.

“I remember a lady brought such a case in which her phone was stolen and some amount of money also withdrawn from her account. She was asked to put down her name and write a statement. We also told her that she should go to the bank to check. She came back to this office with proof of the face of the person that withdrew the money.

“We are yet to see the lady (victim) return. We tried all we could to help her at that time,” he added.

The Chief Security Officer (CSO) of MAPOLY, Mr Adekunle Adekoya, also lamented the problem of phone theft in the institution.

Adekoya said during examination, the greatest challenge of the security unit was how to prevent students’phones and bags from being stolen.

However, he said the unit was not closing its eyes to the matter.

“Bags and phones are not allowed into exam hall while students are asked to keep their bags outside as a result of increase in phone theft,” Adekoya said.

He continued: “Notwithstanding, we have been working relentlessly to bring this malady to the barest minimum.

“So far, so good. This trend has been drastically reduced, but I want to implore the students to also assist us by not bringing their phones and bags when coming to examination halls.

“It is entrenched in the exam pass. It is not advisable because bags and phones are not allowed in exam hall to make our job easier.

“The truth is, those stealing phones are not ghost. They are either your classmates or friends who might have written the exams and come out earlier.

“Such a thief will not bring a bag (to exam hall), but will just randomly pick somebody’s bag that looks attractive. Once exam is over, the real owner will start looking for the bag and some people will say, ‘that bag looks like my bag’.

“As security, we also find it rather difficult to identify the culprits because by the school’s rule, we are not allowed into the exam hall, but rather a few metres away.”

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