Gbemisola Ibrahim, Egba Cynthia, and Hussein Adoto
A hostel manager in charge of the female hostel at the Old College of the University of Ilorin, Mrs. Suleiman has allegedly slapped a student of the University, Ms. Esther Uchechukwu.
College Press gathered that the incident occurred when Mrs. Suleiman went to the hostel for inspection on Monday, October 18, 2021.
She was said to have entered the hostel with two male artisans without ringing the customary bells to indicate the presence of men in the hostel compound.
Narrating her ordeal, Ms. Uchechukwu a 500 level medical student, said “She (the hostel manager) came into the hostel with two men. I think they were artisans because they wore backpacks. So I was like “Mummy, you didn’t ring the bell before coming in.”
“There was this sister packing her clothes on the line in the front of A Block, she was wearing only a singlet and panties. It was when I spoke that she looked around and saw men coming in.”
She added that the hostel manager told her that the hostel porter was already coming in with the bell, to which she insisted that they should have rung the bell before the men were allowed inside the hostel.
She said her response supposedly infuriated the hostel manager, who accused her of being “rude” and “stupid.”
Esther, a married student, said she denied the accusations. “Mummy, I am not stupid. I am just saying that you should have rung the bell before bringing men into the hostel.”
On hearing this, the student said Mrs. Suleiman walked back to her and slapped her.
An eyewitness who spoke with College Press on the condition of anonymity said she was going to use the trash bin in the hostel when she overhead Esther saying, “I am not stupid. I am not stupid.”
The 300 level medical student added that “By the time I looked up, the woman walked up to Esther and slapped her.”
Another eyewitness said she was in the compound wearing only a shirt and panties when the hostel manager came in with the men. They did not ring any bell, she noted.
Esther was said to have challenged the hostel manager who responded that “Is it not your work that they came to do?” to which the medical student replied that they had already paid for it.
After the incident, Ms. Esther said she called Sub-dean of Student Affairs, College of Health Sciences (COHS), Dr. Alabi, who told her that he is on sabbatical and that she should call Dr. Alex, the Sub-dean of Student Affairs at the permanent site (PS).
College Press reached out to Mrs. Sulaiman. She said she was at the hostel to “look out for their (students’) comfort” before they attacked her.
According to her, she brought in artisans to repair some damages at the hostel when the girl (Esther) accosted and started abusing her.
The hostel manager noted that Esther was rude and abusive and even wanted to attack her. She said the slap was not an assault, as alleged. Rather, she was just “defending” herself.
Mrs. Sulaiman claimed that, as a grandmother, she makes it her responsibility to look out for students in the hostel which she said the students almost get for free.
Esther denied the allegation that she tried to return the slap, saying, “I did not make any attempt to move from where I was. I was in shock.”
College Press could not reach the Sub-deans for comments on the incident.
The President of the Student Union, Mr. Waliu Opeyemi (Omoluabi) condemned the assault on the student, saying that there is no justification for the violation of any student’s right on campus.
“No officer of the school has the power to slap a student of the university, regardless of anything that must have happened. So, I condemn it (the assault). It is detestable.”
Omoluabi said he has spoken with Mrs. Sulaiman to let her know that such actions are not welcome on campus, and also got the Student Affairs Unit involved to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.
On his part, the president of Ilorin Medical Students Association (ILUMSA), Abiodun Micheal (Colossus), said he was shocked that a student could face such violation in this age.
He promised to work that the affected student gets justice for the assault, adding that he has met with the provost of the College, Prof. O. T. Adedoyin, in the presence of the student (Esther) and the hostel manager, to ensure that “a negative precedent is not set such that students can be assaulted by anybody.”
The hall representative of the female hostel, Ms. Maya, confirmed the incident to our correspondent and said they are working to forestall a repeat.
Ms. Maya said “We have heard suggestions from different people about what to do. We are looking to talk to the management about fixing a regulated time (for the supervisors).”