Students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife are calling for an apology from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) following the arrest of 69 individuals in a raid on off-campus hostels during the early hours of Wednesday.
The OAU Students’ Union said that those arrested were students of the university and were taken by the EFCC from Ile-Ife to the commission’s office in Ibadan, Oyo State, after the raid.
However, following a protest by the students at the EFCC’s zonal office in Iyaganku, Ibadan, 58 of the students were released. The remaining 11 students were said to have cases to answer.
Abiodun Olanrewaju, OAU’s public relations officer, confirmed the release of the students, saying, “Fifty-eight of the students were released to us. The remaining 11 of them have cases to answer.”
On Thursday, it was noted that posts on the verified social media pages of the EFCC about the arrest of the suspects had been deleted, and the fate of the remaining 11 suspects remained unclear.
Efforts were made to contact the Head of the Media & Publicity Unit of the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, regarding the deleted posts and the status of the remaining detainees, but there was no response at the time of filing this report.
In the deleted posts, the EFCC had said, “They (the 69 suspects) were arrested on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at the Oduduwa Estate area of Ile-Ife, Osun State, following actionable intelligence on their suspected involvement in fraudulent Internet-related activities. Credible intelligence linked the Oduduwa Estate with activities of suspected internet fraudsters.”
The agency had also mentioned that “The suspects have made useful statements to the EFCC and will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.”
According to Punch, a statement from the Students’ Union officials, demanded that the EFCC clear the names of their members and assured that efforts were underway to seek the release of the remaining 11 students.
The statement, jointly signed by Abbas Ojo, Student Union President; Akinboni Opeyemi, Secretary-General; and Omisore Elijah, PRO, stated, “We also demand that the EFCC tenders a public release clearing the names of the unlawfully incarcerated (students) of the unfounded allegations published on their media handles and broadcast to the whole country in which the earlier published posts had already been pulled down across all their social media platforms.”
Omisore, the union’s PRO, further stated, “We want the EFCC to apologise and clear the names of the students (earlier published).” He added that the union’s leadership and other students were still at the EFCC office in Ibadan, actively exploring legal avenues to secure the release of the 11 detained individuals.