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EFCC has clarified its operation carried out at the Federal University of Technology, Akure



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has clarified its operation carried out at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) on Wednesday.

Head of Media and Publicity of the agency, Dele Oyewale, said in a statement that its operatives from the Benin Zonal Command arrested 14 undergraduate students of the university during the operation.

“They were arrested alongside 19 others in the early hours of Wednesday, February 14, 2024 for suspected internet crimes,” the statement read.

Mr Oyewale said the suspects were arrested at different residential locations within Akure metropolis following intelligence on their alleged nefarious activities.

“Specifically, the sting operation that yielded their arrest was a response to strident calls to the EFCC by neighbours and parents around the locations, to save their children from being lured into internet-related activities by the suspects.

“Items recovered at the point of arrest include 10 exotic cars, phones, laptops and one motor bike. The suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded,” he said.

Meanwhile, FUTA’s Students Union Government (SUG) has condemned the midnight invasion of off-campus student hostels and arrest of some students by the EFCC

The union alleged that the operatives broke into students’ lodges around Orita Obele Road Block at about 3 a.m. and arrested the students.

Many of the students, according to eyewitnesses, first thought it was an attack by kidnappers.

In a statement by the President of the union, Olayemi Oluwasoromidayo, he described the invasion and arrest as unlawful and an insult to the EFCC chairman who had banned midnight invasion and arrest by the operatives of the anti-graft agency.

“We regret to inform you of an ugly incident that happened within our school off-campus community. At 3:00 am on 14 February, 2024, some agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) broke into more than three school lodges at the South Gate community and made unlawful arrest of our students, destroyed properties, molested a female student and inhumanly inflicted injuries on some other students,” the statement said.

The SUG leader said the raid was illegal and efforts were being made to get the arrested students back on campus.

They also noted that the student body had been agitating for the Federal Government’s attention in addressing very pressing issues, only for the EFCC operatives to worsen the situation.

They assured the students of the union’s commitment to prioritising their safety and well-being while they are in school.

The Management of the institution has also reacted to the development, expressing reservations over the raid.

FUTA’s Director, Corporate Communication, Adegbenro Adebanjo, said contrary to some false reports, the operatives of EFCC did not invade FUTA and there was no operation whatsoever within the hostels or precincts of the University.

“The incident in question happened in private hostels off campus. However, the University expresses strong reservation about the timing and mode of the operation said to have taken place around 2am on Wednesday, 14 February.

“Reports indicate that the operatives barged in and violently woke sleeping students and treated them most unfairly in the course of the operation. Such patently dangerous tactics should not have been employed by the operatives. The process should always follow the due process without causing harm or injuries to anybody physically or psychologically.

“Indeed but for providence, something untoward could have happened in the course of the operation carried out in the off campus hostels,” he said.

Mr Adebanjo said that the University was in touch with the EFCC to ascertain the identity of those arrested and validate their studentship, and also to ensure that innocent FUTA students were not punished for offences they have not committed.

“FUTA abhors all forms of anti-social practices including acts of criminality in all its forms and supports all initiatives to bring perpetrators to face the consequences of their actions within the ambit of the law.

“The University rules and regulations as contained in the Students Code of Conduct as stipulated in the University Handbook and oath of Matriculation, which all students are made to sign, specifically prescribes varying degrees of punishment for students who run afoul of the laws governing their studentship or engage in illegal acts or odious behavior. The Handbook will guide the University in the current situation,” he added.

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