Muhammed Bello, Olatunji Olaigbe and Ifeoluwa Grace
“He barged into her office, and she asked her to go back and knock. Instead, he started banging on her table, shouting in Yoruba: “you want to kill me, I’ll kill you first” and started punching her,” said Dr. B.K. Saliu, the HOD of the Department of Microbiology. The same day, he had gone to threaten his LA at a mosque where he usually prayed. Along with his LA and Dr. Zakariyau, Waliu is said to have female lecturers whom he had in his book.
After visiting Salaudeen Waliu, the student who assaulted his female lecturer, the UCJ-Unilorin sought to speak with other stakeholders, including the HOD of the Microbiology department and a student said to be present in the office of Dr. Zakariyau on the day of the incident.
Most offices of the Microbiology department house an office and a research laboratory. On the day of the event, two female students were having practical experimentations in the lab adjoined to Dr. Zakariyau’s office. After hearing noises, the students are said to have come out of the lab and met Waliu punching Dr. Zakariyau, after which he threatened them to stay out of his way lest he killed them first. “While he focused on the student, Dr. Zakariyau was able to escape,” said Dr. Saliu. Waliu is said to have walked around the building until he saw Dr. Zakariyau.
Dr. Zakariyau escaped him a second time and ran into another main laboratory in the building and locked the door behind her. Waliu proceeded to break the window of the laboratory. Seeing this, Dr. Zakariyau ran out of the laboratory, after which Waliu continued chasing her. Whilst this happened, the department was scanty and most offices were empty. “The faculty of Life Sciences was preparing for a program and most people were there,” said Dr. Saliu.
Waliu chased Dr. Zakariyau until she fell at the department pavement and parking lot. She fell and hit her head against the lawn fence on the pavement, after which Waliu continued beating her until she became unconscious, after which Waliu stood there cursing Dr. Zakariyau. By now, some students and members of the department were outside and witnessing the event. Waliu tried running away but was caught by students who handed him over to the school security unit.
UCJ-Unilorin also spoke with one of the female students present at Dr. Zakariyau’s lab during the event. The student who is also a classmate of Waliu pleaded anonymity said she and the other lady present heard Waliu entered Dr. Zakariyau’s officer, but had thought it was just another student. “We were at the inner lab, working on our project when we heard the door to her office open but we didn’t take it as anything, we just thought it was any other normal person,” she said.
She revealed that after a while, they started hearing noises from her office, a voice shouting on top of his voice threatening he was going to kill her and also cursing her but all Dr. Zakariyau did was try to calm him down.
“He was raining curses on her and threatened to kill her but we heard her (Dr. Zakariyau) just try to calm him down,” she said. “I don’t know maybe it was the things she was saying while trying to calm him down that made him start punching her because we were in the lab.”
“It was when we started hearing him punching her and she screaming, that was when we ran into the office. We were surprised to see it was one of her classmates” she said.
According to her, they tried begging him but he wouldn’t listen. “We tried begging him because we couldn’t just hit him up and we were ladies so there was nothing we could do. So, we begged him more but he came at us shouting and threatened that if we don’t get out of his way, he was going to beat us” she revealed.
The HOD confirmed that Dr. Zakariyau was medically stable and checking up with her private medical caregiver. “Lecturers should be safe in their offices, and this incident is saddening and insulting,” said Dr. Saliu.
“We are still here and we are still working, but it’s not the best thing. You can imagine what trauma she (Dr. Zakariyau) will go through when she gets back in the office,” Dr. Saliu said. Johnson Emmanuel, the departmental student president also rebuked the behavior of students towards the incident, especially the misinformation propagated by students and members of the public.
As at the time of writing this, Waliu is reported to have been expelled after facing the University Disciplinary Committee.
The HOD along with other students said Dr. Zakariyau was one of the department’s most caring staff, on occasions, she had crowdfunded for the school fees of indigent students. She’d also taken steps to help Waliu with his SIWES program, including seeing whether he could perform it at the Central Research Laboratory where he could be properly monitored. “It’s a shocking experience, and not to say that anyone deserves to be beaten, but especially not someone like Dr. Zakariyau,” said Dr. Saliu.