Students of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, resident in a lodge in the Alakahia area of the state have yet to get over the shock resulting from a robbery attack on the facility.
The students were jolted on Thursday when about 30 assailants reportedly armed with cutlasses and guns stormed the lodge around 2am, dispossessing residents of their valuables.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the robbers went round with a PoS forcing students, who did not have cash, to use their Automated Teller Machine cards to do credit transfers.
It was gathered that the robbers operated unhindered as policemen at a nearby police station reportedly failed to show up after a distress call was put across to them.
A Twitter user, with the alias Light, shared the incident on her Twitter handle, @Hisroyaldopenex, on Thursday and tagged the Nigeria Police.
“A friend of mine just reached out to me that armed robbers numbering about 30, armed with guns and a PoS just finished robbing her lodge in Alakahia, UNIPORT, a few minutes ago. They called the police and as usual, they didn’t turn up.
“The police picked their call because it was a lady that called, but kept mute when she mentioned armed robbers. We really have to do better in this country. I’m sure those guys are still out there operating without any resistance,” Light tweeted.
Another Twitter user, Prince K’Challa, @KolaShango, stated that Alakahia used to be safe when he was in UNIPORT, adding that there is a police station close to the lodge.
“Alakahia no longer has vigilantes; plus the attacks are carried out by indigenes. I just feel like these guys pay their dues and so they are never disturbed. SARS men are always around the school gate searching for young boys but can’t get to Alakahia that’s just one minute away. Sad,” another commentator, with alias, Warrified, wrote.
In a private chat with our correspondent, a resident of the lodge, who did not want her name in print, said the robbers scaled the fence to gain entry.
She said they beat up students with machetes and operated freely, noting that a student was raped in the process.
She said, “Around 2am on Thursday, we were sleeping when we started hearing some sounds; like people were banging on the doors, little did we know they were thieves. They jumped over the fence. They were 28 men and two ladies.
“They barged into some rooms and demanded the students’ phones and their ATM cards. They used PoS to debit them. They raped one student and flogged many people with machetes.”
The student further stated that the bandits, after their operation, ordered the lodge caretaker to open the gate. She said the caretaker declined the order and the robbers used machetes to inflict injuries on him.
“Meanwhile, when this attack was going on, we called the police around 2am and they said they were coming. From my house to the police station is just two minutes’ drive. The police showed up by 7am when everyone was done crying and had fallen asleep.”
The source said residents now lived in fear, urging the police and other relevant authorities to ensure security in the area.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Nnamdi Omoni, has yet to reply to a message sent to his phone on the incident as of press time.
The spokesperson for UNIPORT, Mr. Williams Wodi, stated that the institution would not comment on the incident as it happened outside its jurisdiction.
He said, “University of Port Harcourt is within a confined area. It is not part of the Alakahia lodge. Alakahia is a community outside the university. I am not competent to speak about a robbery in Alakahia community. Kindly contact the police. Thank you.”
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