BAUCHI, Nigeria — A late-night fracas at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University has sparked outrage and calls for accountability after a group of men, alleged to be soldiers in mufti, reportedly assaulted the chairman of the Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, Dr Ibrahim Inuwa, and harassed a university security officer on Monday, May 22, 2023.
Sources say the alleged soldiers, traveling in two vehicles with tinted windows, demanded entry into the university premises.
When a vigilant security officer at the main gate refused them entry due to the vehicles’ tinted windows, the men reportedly forced their way in, assaulting the lone guard in the process.
Upon witnessing the ordeal, Dr Inuwa intervened, inquiring about the incident, only to be met with physical assault from the intruders.
The unexpected act of violence led to heightened tensions, culminating in a near crisis as students of the institution rallied in defense of their ASUU chairman.
“I told them this is a university and we have our rules. The next thing, they started shoving me, then one of them went to the extreme and slapped me three consecutive times,” Dr Inuwa told journalists.
The escalating situation prompted the students to barricade the two main university gates and demand the alleged soldiers be handed over to them.
As their frustrations boiled over, the students pelted the intruders’ Toyota Camry and Toyota Corolla with stones, resulting in substantial damage to the vehicles.
Inuwa, recounting the harrowing event to journalists, voiced his concern over the alleged soldiers’ blatant disregard for the university’s protocol.
“They are claiming that they are military guys, but to give us their details is now a problem. They forced their way into the university.
Our Union is now aware of the incident, and we need their details to let the Chief of Army Staff know about it,” he said.
ASUU National Internal Auditor, Adamu Babayo, endorsed the actions of the security officer, affirming that the school’s protocol bans vehicles with tinted windows from entering its campus.
“Our students came at the gate trying to lynch the military boys. So the chairman said they should lock the gate, so that they don’t go out, and the students will lynch them,” he explained.
This incident, occurring against a backdrop of increasing tensions between civilians and military forces in Nigeria, underlines the urgent need for maintaining and enforcing respect for institutional norms.
Senior army officers who arrived later at the scene assured they would handle the matter internally, but critics argue that a transparent investigation is vital for maintaining public trust.