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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has said it raided some parts of the off campuses of the Federal University of Technology, Akure(FUTA) on Wednesday following complaints by parents and neighbours over the nefarious activities of those arested.

Head of Media and Publicity of the agency, Dele Oyewale, said in a statement on Wednesday that its Operatives of the Benin Zonal Command arrested 14 undergraduate students of the university during the operations.

 “They were arrested alongside nineteen( 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,” he said.

 “Items recovered at the point of arrest include ten exotic cars, phones, laptops and one motor bike.

“The suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.”

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

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

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

President of the union, Olayemi Oluwasoromidayo and along with other leaders, in a statement, 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 the 14th February, 2024, some agents of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) broke into more than 3 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 leaders 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 Federal Government’s attention in addressing very pressing issues, only for the EFCC operstives to worsen the situation.

They assured the students of the unions commitment to prioritizing 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.

Adegbenro Adebanjo, FUTA’s Director, Corporate Communication, 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,” he said.

“However the University expresses strong reservation about the timing and mode of the operation said to have taken place around 2 AM on Wednesday February 14, 2024.

“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.

“The University is in touch with the EFCC to ascertain the identity of those arrested and validate their studentship and also to ensure that innocent FUTA students are 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 ambits 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 degree 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.”

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