By: Hayatullahi Folorunsho Mudathir
In the late hour of Monday 2nd October, 2023, a false claim of bandits attack on Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto main campus left students on the campus in serious tension and fear, running helter skelter for their dear lives.
The claim was made by a yet-to-be identified person(s) in the school community.
The unverified claim got to the social media platforms, part of which are whatsapp groups, statuses, and Facebook pages including Arewa Live Matters, attracted more audience, reaching parents and guardians of the students at home, who were engulfed with fear and started putting calls through to their wards in school.
Untill 1am in the midnight, one of the villages on the campus identified as ‘Sharma Village’ and its neighboring one, ‘Benjee’, were crowded by students who all vacated their various rooms [in the private apartments], seeking safety over unidentified cause of alarm.
In fact, many students dwelling in the affected area of the school vacated the environment, squatting with their friends in the school hostel, in search of safety.
“When I saw the villagers exiting their various compounds with their wives and children, all running toward a specific direction and signaling to me to also run for my life, I questioned what happened, and they kept saying that bandits were around.
“That was how I ran to my compound to alert fellow students, thinking that for the villagers to be running away, there’s no reason for students to remain in their apartment,” a student identified as Hammad recalled.
Bandits attack UDUS Campus.
Findings by PEN PRESS show that the claim is MISLEADING.
Unlike what the claim stated that bandits attack UDUS campus, leaving students in the state of fear, the attack was actually a case of robbery.
A man identified as ‘Shehu’ [who repairs phone] at the school mini market, was matcheted on his head while trying to escape the robbery attack, and was rushed to the school clinic for immediate treatment.
Shehu told PEN PRESS that the attackers were not bandits, they only came to steal.
“They matcheted me on my head because I attempted to run away. They only stole three working phones in my shop, and nothing more. Even they didn’t touch my motorcycle parked at the front of my shop,” he explained.
Throughout the time of the incident, no eyewitness could testify positively to the banditry claim as different set of people are fed with different information, being spread around for continue chaos in the community.
However, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Lawal Suleiman Bilbis, denied the claim of attack on the institution, clarified that it were thieves who robbed some shops at the school mini market, carted away two cartons of drinks and eight mobile phones beings charged in some of the shops, without any student being injured or kidnapped.
“I was alerted by security officials in the school of an incident and when I arrived the mini mart where the incident happened at about 11pm, it was observed that the case was robbery and not banditry,” the VC clarified.
Similarly, several credible media platforms in the country, including Nigerian Tribune, Leadership News and AIT, have reported that the Vice Chancellor of the institution has debunked the rumor, called on the members of the general public as well as parents to remain calm, that no cause for alarm over the security of lives of students of the university.
The claim that bandits attack Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, is MISLEADING; the incident that happened on Monday night was a case of robbery, and not banditry.