In what may appear a show of might, a lecturer at the University of Lagos, Dr Babawale Taiwo along with his colleague, Dr Israel Abiala had on Wednesday evening allegedly stabbed a student of the university in the face with an unidentified object.
The victim of the physical assault, Jimi Fatunbi, is a Masters degree student in the Department of English of the university, and resident of the Henry Carr Postgraduate Hall, located close to the Faculty of Education.
What started out as a mere conversation later turned bloody between the lecturers and the student. While Abiala belongs to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Taiwo teaches in the Christian Religious Studies unit of the Department of Arts and Social Sciences Education.
Jimi told EduCeleb.com that his assaulters had wrongly accused him of using one-way as he attempted reversing his car from where it was initially parked at Elkanemi Hall to Henry Carr, his hall of residence.
“I just went to Education Roundabout to bring my car so that I could repark in the Henry Carr Hall Car Park. While I was reversing at Elkanemi park, I discovered that a vehicle was behind me and they (the occupants of the vehicle) said I was obstructing them.”
He said that he stepped out to explain to the occupants of the other vehicle who turned out to be the aforementioned lecturers about his car not kick-starting at once. In his attempt to enter his car and drive out of the Education Roundabout, the lecturers accused him of trying to run away.
“Dr Taiwo started banging on my car. I felt he wanted to damage my car and I stopped. I came down again to ask him what was actually wrong,” he narrated.
“I felt that if you accuse me of obstructing you and I’m moving away, you don’t need to attack me any longer,” he continued.
“He said I had committed an offence and he needed to deal with me, being a lecturer. So, before I knew it, his colleague, Dr Abiala came down from the same car and started harrassing me. In the process, one of them stabbed me in the face.”
Student’s Face stitched
Jimi’s face had to be stitched at the university’s Medical Centre after he had been physically assaulted by the lecturers. Our correspondent saw a deep cut on his cheek which had been plastered later.
The cut, which is closer to the victim’s right eye ball is just the most visible of the injuries inflicted upon him all over his body. He said he got all these after the assault.
When asked if he fought back, Jimi said he couldn’t have done so out of respect for the elderly lecturers. He only had to block the punches of the lecturers.
“It was not as if I fought back. I was trying to defend myself. I was shouting until students came around,” he added.
Accused of armed robbery
As the lecturers discovered that the noise of their victim was attracting students to gather around them, Jimi said Dr Taiwo started accusing him of being an armed robber who should be incarcerated at the Alpha Base. Alpha Base is an appellation within the UNILAG community for the university’s Security Unit. It is located a few metres away from the scene of the incident.
Taiwo allegedly bragged of being a lecturer who had the powers to “deal with” him.
“He (Dr Taiwo) did went to report me to the Alpha Base. When he came with the security officers, the story changed.”
Security officials figure out the fact
After both sides narrated their sides of the story to the security officers, the officers figured out that Dr Taiwo was trying to exploit him. They took that against Taiwo and had him detained overnight in their dungeon. He was later released in the morning based on self-recognition as a member of staff.
The matter which had now got to the attention of the university management is now under investigation, EduCeleb.com had learnt.
Jimi said he reported to his Hall Master, Professor Adeyemi Daramola, his Hall Warden, Dr Simon Viashima and the Dean of Students’ Affairs, Professor Ademola Adeleke. He added that the University’s Chief Security Officer was equally aware of the matter.
When we reached the university’s spokesman, Toyin Adebule, he said he confirmed the matter was under investigation.
“The University Management has commenced serious investigation on the issue and assures you that we will get to the root of matter and act appropriately,” Adebule said.
Jimi called on the university authorities to maintain justice. “There should be justice and I believe that the University of Lagos would not condone that indiscipline,” he said
However, a security official of the Alpha Base who declined disclosing his identity told EduCeleb.com that his office was aware of the matter. He simply told our correspondent “everything has been settled.” It is unclear as at the time of filing this report if that was true.
The lecturers concerned were not available in their offices and calls put through to them were not answered.
Not a new thing
The case of lecturers assaulting students in Nigerian universities is not entirely new. Earlier in the year, the Students’ Union President at the University of Ilorin, Lukman Shobowale was slapped by Dr T.K. Abioye after speaking on behalf of students, an allegation which Abioye later denied.
There was also the case of an Imo State University professor, Egbe Richard, who beat a female student to pulp using his belt. In neither instance was a lecturer brought to book.