By Bulmun Dakwal
Aondona Kwaghaondo, 24, regained consciousness and found himself in a bush close to the Naraguta hostel after he was attacked by a mob who hit him with their cutlass, stoned him, and stabbed him. The mob pushed him off the road Naraguta Road to die in the bush.
Students who live in Naraguta hostel, a popular students’ residence in the University of Jos, Plateau State, has in recent years suffered dangerous effects whenever locals engage in brawls. Naraguta, Bauchi, and Farin Gada road axis, Jos North, this is a major recurrence.
The earliest account of such attacks on students dates as far back as 2008. These attacks occur during personal fights, ethnic or religious violence and others, and they often escalate to students’ residences due to proximity.
Speaking to UDEME, Mr Kwaghaondo narrates his experience on how the event unfolded on that fateful day, the 15th August, 2021.
“I had just completed my second MBBS professional examination, I was elated to go back home.
“Sequel to that day, we heard about possible attacks on the hostel, so I wanted to leave Jos. It was on a Sunday morning, when I boarded a tricycle to Ring Road to get my tablet from a friend before taking off and I got attacked on my way back by the mob,” he said.
Mr Kwaghaondo said the attack was unprovoked. He described how a group of young men descended on him, stabbed him and dragged him off the tricycle.
Going further, he also told UDEME how he managed to crawl into the hostel through a broken fence after he regained consciousness and was assisted by some passersby who rushed him to a clinic.
“It was a very traumatizing experience; till this day I am a bit triggered by similar sights and sounds,” he said.
Dorathy (other name withheld), who was a victim of a similar incident in 2010, told UDEME how she was brutally stabbed by an angry mob and narrowly escaped.
“I can still remember how it happened like it was yesterday, I was going to Terminus Market on that day when suddenly I was attacked on the motorcycle I was on, just along the Bauchi road axis.
“I tried to escape but I was still followed and stabbed in my back, thank God for a good Samaritan who saved me, and I was rushed to the Jankwano hospital from there”, she added.
Mr Kwaghaondo and Miss Dorathy are few among so many students who have been attacked.
How about security for students?
Perhaps this project could have helped the students get some level of security. In 2021, the Plateau state government approved a budget of N20 million Naira for the building of a security post at the Bauchi Road junction, Jos North, Plateau state. If completed and properly manned, students in Naraguta Hostel would have been able to access help less than half a kilometer away. The budget indicates that the project was placed under the supervision of Operation Rainbow, a state security outfit established in 2010.
A top official at Operation Rainbow confirmed that the funds have been released but there is no project at the junction yet.
What currently exists at the location is an aluminium kiosk, a product of community efforts, mostly occupied by local vigilantes, but that too was destroyed during a brawl in April 2023.
Speaking to Yahaya Mohammed, the Zinariya B Ward Head, told UDEME about the community’s efforts at getting more security.
“We have written severally (several times) to the chairman, G.O.C, C.P and Director DSS but we have not seen any result. The zinc that used to be here was a community effort that reached out to the vigilante to put it up. We also hold our meetings with the university body, usually at the ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) hall, to ensure that peace is sustained, the last time we had our meeting, we talked about the need for every area to have tight security”
“We really need a permanent security post or building here because most times it is hard to control these thugs who cause these attacks and unrest,” he said.
When asked if the government had made any effort to curb the situation, Mr Mohammed told UDEME that land was purchased for the building of a security post but since then they have not heard anything concerning that from the government.
The Acting Director, Public Relations of Operation Rainbow, Panan Gongden, told UDEME that efforts have been put in place to ensure there is security in the area.
“We have been going on patrol to ensure that the area is safe. We also have surveillance cameras one out of them is the one which is situated at Dutse Ukwu which covers some part of Jos north and that includes the Bauchi road axis, protecting the students is of utmost importance to us.”
Mr Gongden also told UDEME that the budgeted money was approved and released to them. When asked why there is no security post at the Bauchi Road junction despite it been included in the state project and the money been released to them, he said.
“Because we do have routine patrol at the Bauchi road axis, we used the funds that were released to build the present security post at Dutse Ukwu and now that it has been completed, arrangements are on going by Operation Rainbow to construct a permanent security post around the Bauchi junction to boost security and safety of the students and the citizens of Plateau state,” he said.
He also added that the project will be added to the 2023 budget because the funds last released were used for the project at Dutse Ukwu.
This report was produced under the UDEME project of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)