The Vice Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University, Prof. Ernest B. Izevbigie while commending the efforts of the Nigerian Police in their fight against crime across the country, enjoined the Inspector General of Police to restore ‘Campus Police’ by revisiting the Brig. General Abisoye panel of enquiry of 1986 –Ahmadu Bello University-(ABU) student crisis. He made this call in an interactive media chat with Henry Akinniyi of T.V Africa in his office at the university campus in Benin City with focus on campus security as it relates to the fight against cultism.
Answering questions bordering on security and the fight against cultism and other related crimes in the country, Prof. Izevbigie commended the Nigerian Police in their fight against crime, noting that there is however room for improvement. He congratulated the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase on his new appointment, adding that the IG’s war on cultism particularly in his home, Edo State, reflects the true saying, “charity begins at home”. He therefore prayed God to grant the IG wisdom in ridding the country off crime.
Speaking further, Prof. Izevbigie stressed that the issue of security should not be left in the hands of the police alone. According to him, “security is everybody’s responsibility” particularly in the wake of increased societal ills such as the Boko Haram insurgence in the North, kidnapping and other related issues. He therefore called on the citizenry to corporate with the police by providing useful information to the Police.
Responding to the issue of cultism and how Benson Idahosa University has been able to checkmate the ‘dare devil’ the Vice Chancellor said, the Management of Benson Idahosa University is very careful in its recruitment exercise considering its Mission of ‘raising leaders’ and one of its Seven Core Values which is; ’Academic Excellence with Godliness’. According to him, the university is not just interested in the academic component but also in the character of the product it produces at the end of the day.
Prof. Izevbigie said the University Management has also been able to develop a five year security plan on campus. He noted that though no Academic Institution is immune to external infiltrations, the issue of cultism does not exist in Benson Idahosa University, adding that the university has a well- equipped security department with highly trained personnel who are on ground 24/7. He further stated that Management of the University will continue to implement new strategies in dealing with campus unrest as well as other security matters.
As the interview session gradually came to an end, Akinniyi sought to know if Benson Idahosa University has policies restraining students from using such luxury items as; iPads, cars, as well as free access to the internet as is heard of in some private Universities in the country.
Responding, the Vice Chancellor said, the university does not have such policies in place. However, students have sites they can visit with inhibitions, adding that Benson Idahosa University has a state of the art ICT department where students have free access to the internet for research work and other academic activities. Speaking on the issue of cars he said; students who own cars are not allowed to drive recklessly on campus. According to him, the university maintains a serene environment which also includes campus safety for its students.
Also speaking and in line with what the Vice Chancellor had said, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sam Guobadia while congratulating the Inspector General of Police on his new appointment, urged the IG to improve on intelligence policing by restructuring the Police. Meanwhile, the University’s Chief Security Officer (CSO), Rev. Lukkas Dyagas who commended the efforts of the IG particularly in his recent clampdown on cultism in Edo State, appealed to the Inspector General of Police to restore Campus Police by revisiting the “Brig. General Abisoye Panel of enquiry of 1986”- Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) student crisis which banned Campus Police from all Nigerian Universities.
Rev. Lucas Dyagas’ call for restoration of Campus Police was supported by the Vice Chancellor, as he urged the Inspector General of Police to as a matter of urgency to look into the restoration of Campus Police considering the increased spate of cultism, student unrest, Campus invasions by militant groups as well as Boko Haram attacks on campuses in some parts of the Country. These he said have become hydra-headed and calls for concern.
As the interview session came to an end, Akinniyi asked the Vice Chancellor for his final words.
On his final words, Prof. Izevbigie expressed his appreciation to the Edo State Commissioner of Police for the good relationship which exist between the Police and the university community, while calling on the Nigerian Police to improve on their response to distress calls.