Investigation: Cultism, sexual harrasment and rape in Delta polytechnic Ozoro (part one)

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Editor’s Note: Cultism and sexual harassment have been twin evils causing havoc across Nigerian institutions of higher learning. They have done havoc to students, destroyed many lives and ruined great careers of lecturers and promising students. Austin Oyibode, in this special investigation, looks into the scourge of cultism in Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro,  

The impact of the polytechnic in the town

Ozoro, one of the two leading communities in Isoko area of Delta State was a quiet one prior to the establishment of the polytechnic by the former Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori. Before then, cultism and rape among students were predominantly the exclusive preserve of the state university in Abraka, Ethiope West council area of the state. It was less busy, with residents only given to farming, menial businesses with few primary and secondary schools.

As at present, the community is bubbling with life as the polytechnic students have brought life and glamour to the once cold, dry and rustic community. Many investors have taken the opportunity to erect buildings in the area, 90 percent of which are reserved as hostels for students who throng the community from all parts of the state and beyond in search of higher education.

Ozoro community

Ozoro, host community to the polytechnic

While businesses boom and community life boosted, the establishment of the polytechnic has, however, paved way for some avoidable criminal activities which have become a terror to the community dwellers. One of the greatest challenges is the activities of cult groups and criminal gangs which are unleashing terror and mayhem on the people, not only on students but on the indigenes. Available reports are indicative that life is becoming unbearable for the community dwellers as different gangsters are making life difficult for the people.

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Although Rector of the polytechnic, Dr. Jacob Oboreh, who will be completing his tenure within the next few months, dismissed the existence of cult groups on the campus premises which many people, including students and some community members attested to, the existence of the various groups has become one of the dangerous threats to communal life in the polytechnic town.

The reason, actually may not be unconnected with the fact that the institution has only two small buildings as hostels within the campus which can only be secured by not more than five percent of the students, consequently the remaining 95 percent if not more are left to source for accommodation in the off campus community.

As a result, the Rector has been able to curtail the activities of the groups on the campus but there is hail and fire outside, a situation beyond the control of the institution’s authority and security apparatus. Many innocent students and community members who want to live peaceable lives are on daily basis subjected to terror, robbery, rape and all sorts of criminal activities by the cult groups.

admin block

The polytechnic administrative block

An innocent student abandons his studies over cult threats

Consider the case of one Sunny Atiomre, a National Diploma (ND) 1 Business Administration student who quitted the school over threat to his life by cult groups, one of whose leaders was a cousin of his. Young Sunny, 20, was practically unprepared to be a member of the group, his focus was his studies and acquire a certificate from the campus.

But that was not to be as, being a fresh student, the group, led by a cousin of his, swooped on him and persuaded him to join the group for him to have peace and make progress on campus. At first, Sunny counted their threat as child’s play but he was making a deadly mistake. Not until he finished his first semester exam that he realized that the threat was becoming unbearable. When it was time for the second semester exam of the first year, the pressure and threat became tense and for fear of his life, he had no option but to abandon the institution for good.

His major fear was that his cousin was a member of the group. And as such he must join. He couldn’t lay a complaint to the polytechnic authority, that would be to his detriment. Having sought counsel from his parents, he abandoned all the fees he had paid and off he returned to Warri to join his parents.

READ ALSO: Inside the booming baby factory trade in Delta learnt that presently he is pursuing another admission at Nekede Polytechnic in Imo State. At the end of the 2016 academic year, Sunny would have completed his National Diploma programme at the polytechnic but that dream failed. The incident happened in 2015. This was unknown to management of the polytechnic.

The travails of community members

Madam Mary Itiafe, who sells provision opposite the campus, has more bitter tales to tell. For her, community members find it difficult to sleep at night. Some of the students run away from the flashpoint hostels to join their colleagues in the supposedly peaceful areas of the town. According to her, “you hardly sleep and wake up without hearing gunshots.

“It is when the students are on break that there is some level of peace but as soon as they resume, there is fear everywhere. That is the problem we are facing, gunshots, stealing of bikes are regular occurrences in the town.

In the night they steal phones, you can’t come outside. They just hide somewhere and snatch phones, snatch girls’ bags and run away. At times we will hear the girls running, throwing their bags away and shouting but nobody can come out to rescue them.


class rooms in the polytechnic

At other times, they climb through the ceilings to empty people’s houses. Just last week (a week before our reporter visited) they went to a lawyer’s house to steal. The lawyer was not around but his wife was there. She was sleeping in the house but the boys were packing things out of the house through the window. The generator was making noise so, she could not get the sound of what was happening.

“When the generator went off, she decided to check what happened to it when she saw the boys, as soon as she saw them she shouted and they ran away with their loot. When she checked she discovered that they had packed many things from the house and because of that, the woman has run out of the house. She refused to come and live there again.”

Mrs. Itiafe, who gave a pathetic account of the pains of the people following the continuous invasion by cultists, revealed that in the midst of heat at night, all doors and windows are locked irrespective of the heat and lack of ventilation in the house. Even when their babies are crying over heat, they dare not open the windows so as not to pave way for the cultists to gain access into the house.

She said they cannot carry out their criminal activities on campus because the security on campus is tight. She explained that the cultists cannot look at the faces of the security officials because they are unbeatable but “outside the campus we are seeing pepper, you cannot sleep peacefully, that is the truth. If anybody tells you that the indigenes are sleeping peacefully, it’s a lie. They are disturbing us seriously”.

She gave three periods when the cultists do raid. According to her, the raids take place when the students are resuming a new semester, while preparing for matriculation and when writing semester exams. For her, those three periods are deadly for the community people.

Another lady, Mrs. Mabel Okpekpe, who also sells provision opposite the polytechnic, has more tales to tell. For her, it is rain of gun duel, stealing and instilling fear into the heart of the residents.

The experience in the town is not palatable. The school is calm now compared to what happened last year. Robbery, raping and cultism reigned supreme in 2015. They were breaking into hostels, even private houses and raping girls and taking their phones. It was really bad but the police and the vigilante all came together to fight against it”, Mrs. Okpekpe told


The poly Rector, Dr. Jacob Oboreh

She mentioned three major streets where the activities of the cultists hold sway. According to her, Aso Rock road, Campus 2 junction and Gwake road which leads to one sachet water firm beside the polytechnic fence. These are flashpoint areas for the cult activities.

“In these streets, even in the afternoon, you see students exchanging bullets and everybody will escape. Rape is not story I have seen with my eyes. I wouldn’t know if it’s students or indigenes but I will say it’s students. I will say 80 percent of the evils are done by students but we have some indigenes that are terrorizing too. They break into hostels and rape young girls even on the streets at night.

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When they see a big phone in your hand, they will just come and tie you and collect the phone. If you say no! no!! They will try to shoot you down. Like a week ago, they shot one boy because of his phone in the night. He was then rushed to the hospital. But the security men here are trying.

But when they discover that the security men are gone at night, around 2 to 3 am, they will come out and be disturbing people everywhere. Breaking doors and stealing. The day they came to my house was a very bad day for me. I was shouting thiefooo thiefoo and when my children came out they ran away.

“That is what they are doing and because of that the community leaders have put a law that from 7pm to 6am no tricycle nor okada will move in the town. Any time from 7pm everywhere is silent. You just go inside and lock your door. Keke will not move. The bad boys use keke and bike to operate”.

Draining hostels with army of cultists

Peter Oboh, a final year student, revealed that some of the cultists are special students and those expelled from school but refused to go home. He said when they aim a particular hostel, they must ensure they empty it and go away with all gadgets in it. He said no matter the security, no matter the barb wire, they must scale through and when they are coming, not one, not two, from 40 upwards so as to drain the hostel.


The rector, Jacob Oboreh

Like in my hostel, there are 12 rooms in it. When they came, they mounted three in each room. They left some outside the barb wire in case anybody escaped. They pulled off the roof, burst it down. They pulled off the protector from the window. They carried away the hostel generator. As soon as they mean an hostel, they must drain it down before the hostel will have peace. Even the owner of the hostel will regret building the hostel,” Oboh explained.

He said “Bike will never agree to carry you to my hostel. Just tell them you are going to Aso Rock or Campus 2. Once it’s 70clock no bike man will go there because if he goes there, his bike will never come back. Even his money and phone will never come back. They will even try to pull off his trousers from him. The thing is so bad. For like three weeks now, nobody is nearing that hostel. I just managed to escape with my television and a few of my clothes, others have gone with them. They broke all the glass and louvers and went away with everything”.

The account of students

Sylvester Efenudu, a final year student, agreed that there are cultists on the campus, though he has not experienced their operations. However, he said their activities are majorly pronounced off campus. According to him the initiations are carried out in the form of religious fellowships on campus, but unknown to non-initiates, recruitment is going on.

They do their initiations majorly during welcome parties in the hostels. After the welcome parties, what they do next is initiation. The way church fellowships use to come out and say catch them young that’s what they do to new students. At the gates, there is a way they communicate with their people and with style they gain converts.  So, I know they are in the school but they are hiding their faces”, Efenudu said.

Monday Olori, an ND Mechanical Engineering student, also agreed that cultists are on the campus. Specifically, he said he had witnessed a robbery incident by a cult group in town during the final semester exams. According to him, they robbed one of the shops in a street close to his area of residence. They took plasma, students’ belonging at about 1pm and disappeared, “that was when I saw them in action. We hear them going to the hostels, robbing and collecting phones from students. They are many in the town”, he added.

Also, an ND 11 Business Administration student, Favour Okoro, said he was attacked during the first semester of ND11. He confessed that his phones were taken from him but he pleaded with them and they returned one to him. He said some of the cultists are students that have been expelled but refused to go to their homes. These are the students that are involved in robbery and cultism on campus.

Another student, John Obiebi, also an ND 11 student, concurred that cultists are on the campus but if any student has no interest in their activities it will pay the student to remain neutral on campus. “They disturb but if you know you don’t need anything like that you avoid bad friends. There are some girls you cannot carry, if you carry them, you invite cultists to yourself. If you stay on your own you don’t talk to them how will they disturb you?

poly gate

The polytechnic gate where one of the cultists was discovered through a metal detector

For my full life they have never disturbed me. I always hear that they do this and that to some students but in this campus I have not experienced it personally. I thought the way I watch it in films it’s going to be so on campus but not so here. They may be here but they are hiding. They don’t show themselves. Intimidation is not here, they don’t do it, because the Rector doesn’t joke with it”, he said.

A staff of the polytechnic, who would not want his name in print, said in every higher institution, there must be elements of cultism. He, however, said “the good aspect of it is that the cultists are not molesting students or staff on the campus. Apart from this two small hostels here, virtually all the students stay off campus. In the town we do hear that cultists sometimes fight, they disturb and the rest but it’s not so rampant as we hear in places like Igbinedion University and the rest”.

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The Poly Rector’s account

Rector of the polytechnic, Dr. Jacob Oboreh, however, insisted that his administration has fought cultism to a standstill on campus. He told in his office at Ozoro that cultism was prevalent on the campus prior to his tenure, but his tenure took proactive measures against their activities on campus and brought them down.

He said “Yes, we had that in the past but we were very proactive when we came in, we have reduced them to the barest minimum. We have an intelligent unit whose members are not known to staff and students, they collate information and as soon as we confirm those involved in cultism, we expel them immediately. That has reduced cultism on campus.

“Basically, it is the campus aspect that concerns us. We cannot control what is happening outside the campus. Sometimes we hear rumour that there are cult clashes in town but we have not been able to pin it down whether they are our students or some other people from other parts of the state. I have cause to interact with the Divisional Police Officer, he told me severally that these ones that create problem in the town are not my students. Their activities are not on campus, that is the beautiful part of it”.

He said he made a spectacular breakthrough when he bought a metal detector for the security men, an action which led to discovering a student who was armed with a rifle with bullets coming to the campus. The student was arrested and his gun confiscated. He said from then till now the polytechnic authority has not made light of cult activities in the school. His action has been total expulsion of all students confirmed to be members of cult groups. He said he has expelled over 25 students from the institution.

Police commissioner

Delta police commissioner, Ibrahim Zanna

On sexual harassment, he said two lecturers have been dismissed for harassing students sexually on campus. He told that the secret of his success was based on not having sacred cows among students and lecturers. He explained that no one who goes against the polytechnic rules is spared of the authority’s sledge hammer.

Police absolve students, blame community youths

For the Divisional Police Officer in Ozoro, Paul Ibegbu, over 90 percent of the cultists are indigenes of the community who hide under the cover of students to perpetrate cultism, rape and rob students of the institution. “I have told them on several occasions and they know it. The most dangerous cultists for us here are indigenes of the community. 90 percent of the cultists are community members.

“They should stop pointing accusing fingers at students. Their children are more terrible and deadly. If it is only students, police have no problems”, the DPO told in Ozoro. He revealed that indigenes stab people with cutlass, broken bottles and anything they could lay their hands on.


campus cultists

He further revealed that the greatest problem in the community is the challenge posed by the polygamous nature of their families. Following the polygamy in the area, they have children whom they cannot take care of and with the survival instinct in them, they take to robbery, cultism and rape.

Ibegbu explained that “When a man will marry up to nine wives, the poor wives become slaves, carrying blocks to cater for the family. A hungry man is an angry man and since they must satisfy the survival instinct in them, the children are moved into the streets in groups and the worse is that they justify their actions, they tell you that is how their fathers married. These are the pocket groups formed by the polygamous idiots”.

He said the youths snatch phones, ambush students through bush paths, collect their laptops and rape some of the ladies. He as well blamed landlords who build hostels in the bush paths, areas without good access roads and street names. According to him, they build the hostels with the assistance of their children, rent them out cheaply to students with no fence and security, the students are now exposed to the community youths who invade the hostels and unleash mayhem on them.

He revealed that he had told the Rector to collect names of hostels outside the campus that have access roads and post on their notice board, informing students to rent only such hostels as those are the only places where they could be assured of security from the police.

He denied the accusation that when called in the odd hours of the night police will say they have closed. He said his phone is active throughout the night, revealing that he sleeps one hour in 24 hours and that his phone does not ring twice before he picks his call undermining the time of the night.

He called on the community to look inwards and cure their polygamous marriage, saying the only individual that is free from the polygamous disease is the Ovie of Ozoro, the traditional ruler of the polytechnic community, others in the surrounding communities, whom he described as idiots, married many wives and have produced children that have become thorns in the flesh of the community.


The post Investigation: Cultism, sexual harrasment and rape in Delta polytechnic Ozoro (part one) appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read 24/7.

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