By Lydia Lartey
The University community woke up last week to news of an attack on a student – Osei, a Level 400 student the previous night on the road between Pentagon and Evandy Hostels. The brutality of the attack that caused the victim to be admitted at the 37 Military Hospital few days to examination has stirred up the interest of both the University and national public. This has raised brows on issues of security and safety of students on campus.
Mark-Kelly Pagfe, a Level 400 student and roommate of Osei at Evandy Hostel said he heard about the incident about 1am from one of the two friends who were with Osei when he was attacked. Pagfe said the three students went to buy food at about 12 midnight and were approached by three boys who looked like students but were not. The attackers did not ask for anything but threatened them not to run since they had a gun and will shoot if they did.
“There were no security men around at the time of the attack,” said Pagfe.
Two of the students run away leaving Osei who was cut with a machete on his head and arm after his phone was stolen. The two friends after getting help from other students found Osei on the floor and rushed him to the hospital where he is still receiving treatment and has not been able to write exams.
Few days after news of the attack, some workers of the University are seen fixing the street lights on that road, which has been off since the beginning of the semester. The thick bushes by the road are being cleared by bulldozers and two security posts are being mounted by the roadside.
Yahaya Guo, an Investigator at the University’s Security office said the office is aware of such attacks and have posted 2 security men on that road between 7pm and 2am, to escort students especially females to their hostels using their flash lights and mobile phone lights. He added that most of the reported attacks occurred during the revision and examination weeks between 9 and 10:45pm.
“From 15th February to 1st April, we have had 5 reported cases of attacks on that road and have arrested 2 individuals who are now in jail,” said Guo.
Cephas Aminarh, also an Investigator at the University’s security office added that they suspect the attackers could be both students and non-students and blamed some students for being negligent. He said most students are not security conscious because they fail to question strangers, and expose themselves by walking about at odd hours of the night.
“Some students walk on that road around midnight exposing their phones and laptops which makes them targets of thieves,” he said.
Aminarh said inadequate security personnel, and logistics such as patrol vehicles, flash lights and protective gadgets are challenges to their work and added that the provision of street lights and clearing of bushes on that road is being done by the Physical Development Municipal Service Directorate (PDMSD) of the University and not by Security.
Michael Terkper, Head of Electrical at PDMSD said they are aware the street lights were not functioning due to illegal manual tampering with the circuit wires that connect to the lights on that road. He added that the University has an agreement with the Ministry of Energy and ECG to provide led lights bulbs but although the bulbs were available, there was no ‘area bucket’ which is the machine needed to carry the electricians to the top to fix the bulbs. He said the machine was only acquired from an external contractor after news of the recent attack was made public.
“Until about two years ago, Pentagon and Evandy Hostels were responsible for maintaining their street lights,” he said. “We usually get calls from security men when street lights go off in that area.”
William Ofei, the Assistant Curator of Grounds and Garden (PDMSD) said they received instructions from the University’s authority to clear the bush on that road after the attack occurred and hence that exercise.
One can pause to ask whether there is a blame game among the University’s officials about students’ insecurity along the Pentagon-Evandy Hostel road.