Recently, a student of Unilorin, Toluwani Lanre, escaped being mobbed by a hair’s breath. His ordeal was a case of mistaken identity which occurred during the night he and his friend (Faruq) were having a tutorial session at the ELT, University of Ilorin.
According to a reliable source, a group of students present at the scene, was said to have been given a description that fitted perfectly into Tolu’s features immediately after an alarm of phone theft was raised. The stolen phone belongs to Faruq (Tolu’s colleague) who was said to have led the angry students to the room of the accused, in order to find out if Tolu was indeed the culprit.
Consequently, the angry mob made their way to Tolu’s apartment with the sole aim of recovering the stolen phone, and as the norm, mete out jungle justice on him.
UCJ Unilorin gathered that the enraged students were armed with belts intended to be used in making the suspect admit to his alleged offence. Upon gaining entry into his room, the grilling session started, and through all this, Tolu maintained his stance of not being guilty of the offence.
As a result, it was resolved that Tolu be taken back to the ELT to be identified again by the person who claimed to have seen the alleged thief leaving the crime scene. On their way back, derogatory comments were made at random which pointed accusing fingers at Tolu as a thief.
However, in a sudden twist of event, the person who gave the description of the suspect, absolved the accused of the allegation. He claimed that Tolu wasn’t the person he had earlier described to the mobsters. Thus, Tolu’s dignity and integrity was restored as a person.
Though the storm may have been over, the memory remains indelible to Tolu. Here’s Tolu’s account of what transpired:
Tolu NARRATES HIS ORDEAL
Well, starting from the beginning, we had a tutorial, he is the scholar. Mr. Faruq is the scholar. So when we had the tutorial, I left early because what I just needed was a few part of the tutorial to explain what I did not understand in the course.
So, when I went to my room I think I took some time to the room because I was going around to other halls looking for my friend; they were not around. So I went to my room, I greeted my roommate. So in the middle of sleeping, I heard a knock on the door, someone was calling my name “Tolu”. I opened the door; I saw one of my classmates.
I thought the guy wanted to sleep because he came for tutorial too, I thought the guy wanted to sleep in my room because we are just two in a room of four. So, I thought he wanted to sleep in my room, I am like hey! How far! And he just said “Faruq’s phone, where is it?” I was like “ah! Faruq’s phone, what are you talking about?” Not for me to see that many people were outside my door.
Faruq came inside too “is my phone with you?” I said no, your phone is not with me. He said if you are sure…because the other classmate goes by nickname ‘kid’, he was aggravating the issue. Like “is Faruq’s phone with you? Talk!” I was like me, your phone is not with me, he now said that if I want to really prove myself, I have to come to ELT because they have a person that described…that knew who took the phone, that could pin point the person.
So I had to come to ELT and verify. I followed them.
As I got out of the hostel, one of my friends form church; Emmanuel Odejimi saw me, stood beside me. He was like “let’s go together, don’t worry I will be beside you. We were going. So we were going, everybody was following us from behind. We got…throughout the journey…
I didn’t look back because to look back…because I was feeling many things at once. The rush of emotions; I was angry, I was sad, I was scared so I didn’t even look back. Emmanuel was just beside me acting like a rock to me because I was hearing different curses, different abuses, everything behind me. Emmanuel was just like just calm down, don’t look back, just be going, don’t look back, just be moving forward, don’t look back at all.
The class rep that came with me again said “are you sure you did not take it?” I said I did not take anything. He said let’s be going. So, when we got close to ELT, all I just did was just pray a prayer “Father Lord, do not let this be the point where devil will want to take control over my life.”
We got there, the person that they said just looked at me; he was like “ah, it’s not him. As I wanted to turn back, they said wait. I turned back again to look at the guy. I even almost turned myself around to give the guy a good look that please let these people know that I am not the one.
He even called one person that “shebi it is not him?” That one said it was not me. I did not even bother to say anything. I just turned around and I went to my hostel straight. Faruq came to me and begged me for the fact that it was a mistaken identity. I accepted.
Then I just went to my hostel, just walked. I saw people coming behind me, I didn’t even bother looking. Me and Emmanuel, we were just going together. We diverged; I went to my room and I tried to sleep, I couldn’t sleep but I managed to get some sleep after sometime and that was all.
People that I know that saw me were like hey guy we are sorry. Many people have told me sorry although I did not really see anybody’s face so I can’t really pin point the people that I saw that were part of the mob.
Even in the hostel; I have met some people in the hostel that were like “hey, guy how far, sorry for wetin happen, like we think say na you. They had belts, I did not see anything else.
Owner of stolen phone, Faruq, gives his own account
On that particular day, I was on the board having a tutorial session with my colleagues for a test which actually took place the following day.
All of a sudden, the person I gave my phone to charge at the back of the class came back to the front and was actually forming a scene in the class. Then, I asked what happened; he told me that my phone was stolen. Then immediately we went to the scene where the phone was stolen, the person initially said that the person just left class. That’s all he said.
Then, afterward, the person who I gave my phone said that he saw the person who just left class and the person was on a red and white stripped top, so with that only, people in the class said that’s the person who just left a seat in the tutorial class and for that reason, they were kind of…it was very serious…that how can somebody do that to someone who is actually having a tutorial class…the person who is taking you tutorial class, how can you steal the person’s phone? That was how the bone of contention there, then they were like, “how will we get the person?”
So, some people opined of going to the classrooms to check whether he is in any classroom while somebody said he is in the hostel that we can check his room in the hostel whether he is there or not. But then, those who were together in the tutorial class, we left the class together to search for him at…whether he is with the phone or not.
So on leaving the classroom, we got outside ELT (because that was actually the point of incident). On getting to outside, I told them that before we go there, let’s have a discussion. When we get there and find the phone on him, there shouldn’t be any beating, just get back my phone for me and leave him alone. Let’s go…
On getting to the hostel, somebody alarmed me that they found him in his room upstairs, so I had to follow the person who knows his room and said he found him.
On getting to the room, I found someone already attacking him that “where is the phone he took?” something like that. When I got there, I told him, calm down, it’s not about shouting.
In fact, shouting does not actually get the phone recovered (sic). I had to ask him that “is the phone with you?”- he said “no”. I was shocked. I asked him again,” is the phone with you?”- he said “no”. Then I told him that people were actually outside, I don’t want it to become aggravated, just give me the phone; I will calm them down and we will go back to ELT and we will continue our tutorial class if possible and if not; we will all go and read ourselves, no need for tutorial class any more. But he said it’s not with him. I said tor! Okay, let’s go.
On going, then more groups came upstairs when they heard the information that… because initially only I heard he was in the room, then more people came upstairs to his room. I was like “just calm down”, don’t do anything. Let’s go to ELT.
Then we headed towards ELT. On getting to ELT, I entered ELT first to meet the person who said he knows the person who took the phone. Now when I got there, the person said…I told the person that I don’t want any story from you. Just say it “he is the one”, “he is not the one”. Don’t tell us story.
So I stood, I was waiting for him to enter. More of the people who actually escorted, who went in search of him, people who heard of the whole scenario later as they were going down to the hostel, people who woke up in the hostel; more of them entered before he entered himself. So when he entered, I asked the person, “Is he the one?” then the person said…he looked for some seconds, looked at his face and he said “he is not the one”.
Immediately he said that, I knew his image is already on the line. He has been embarrassed in that place. I had to go to him directly to apologize for the whole scenario of bringing him from the hostel in the first place. Dragging him down for something he didn’t do.
So I had to beg him, beg him till we got to front of block… close to the main road in block 8 and when we got there, I had to leave him to go back in search of my phone.
OSUJI, Chima Francis
OJEBODE, Seweseiter Oluwatomisin