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“On the night of 9 July 1999 a number of student groups held a party at Obafemi Awolowo University. The ‘Mirror Online’ reports: “members of Kegites Club on the campus, Man O’ war members, and various other student leaders- both former and incumbent, gathered at the open ground between Angola and Mozambique Halls.” Later in the night many of the party-goers began occupying the cafeteria of Awolowo Hall whilst others returned to their halls of residence to sleep.
At between 3:00 and 3:30 am (now 10 July 1999) a large number of cultists (reported to be between 22 and 40) of the Black Axe confraternity arrived to carry out a preplanned assault on the university with the intention of carrying out the assassinations of several prominent members of the student union. Allegations that these assassinations were sponsored by the university’s vice chancellor, Wale Omole, remain to this day but it is unclear if this is the case. It is said “one of the cultists, Kazeem Bello, aka Kato, confessed that Wale Omole had a hand in their July 10 dastardly operation.” (Excerpts from the book Water Must Flow Uphill (Adventures in University Administration) by Prof. Rogers Makanjuola)
I was a student when the massacre took place. It was a sad day because of the young minds whose lives and dreams were abruptly shut down and big holes punctured in the hearts of their families. Five bright students lost their lives that day – George Yemi Iwilade (fondly called Afrika), a 400 level medical student, Eviano Ekelemu; a graduating student, Yemi Ajiteru; 100-Level Philosophy student, Babatunde Oke, and Ekpede Efe. Efe was my friend and from my home town.
Yesterday made it 19 years and yet majority of those who perpetrated that evil still walk the earth and nothing has been done. They may even be in higher places and political positions. The level of cultism has graduated from universities into the streets. A lot of gangs made up of street urchins have metamorphosed into cultism. The Nigerian youths seems to emulate cultists who have become rich through 419 frauds, online scams and even some musicians.
Some of the musical lyrics have cultist vibes blended into to them that lots of people see it as normal rhymes. Places like Bariga, Iyana-Isachi, Lasu-Iba zones are known areas for street gangsterism. It will be sad to know that the private Christian universities have cultism and cultists as graduates. Some years ago, an upcoming musician known as Damouche was killed in front of the Lagos State University gate, Ojo by some cultists.
The activities of these dare devils has gone unchecked and it’s fast turning the streets into dangerous zones to move at some certain time of the day. Youths are beginning to see the cults as the best way to remain in the game of survival. They all want to belong to one gang or the other. Notable cults like Black Axe, Eiye, Mafia, Mafites, Vikings, Jurist, and Buccaneer etc have their street versions along with some other funny names causing problems.
If George aka Afrika was alive today and ended up a politician Nigeria would have benefited more because he knew what we needed as students. He was a leader and a fighter. He struggled for those he represented. All those that lost their lives would have helped to shaped this country and make it a better place. George was never the type of leader that loved money unlike the ones we have around us today. Some of these politicians might even be among those who carried out that operation that led to his death and the death of so many others as well.
The issue is fast becoming a serious menace and if left on check another massacre, worst than that of OAU will continue to destroy the brightest minds and future of a nation. With the access to cash, technology and weapons we have a serious problem in our hands.