Students in Nigerian universities have stories to tell, but hardly anyone to tell them to. For our new weekly series, Aluta and Chill, we are putting the spotlight on these students and their various campus experiences.
This week’s Aluta and Chill is about how unsafe Nigerian campuses can be. From the student who was stuck in an abusive relationship to the student who witnessed female students being drugged at a party, these stories are chilling.
Boma, Female, University of Port Harcourt
I met this guy in my first month at school. He was older than me by 8 years and was in the penultimate year of his medical degree. I didn’t mind the age difference. I thought it was cool, and that it would be good for me.
It was not. He was an abuser who didn’t waste an opportunity to hurt me. At first, it was only verbal assaults. Then he started to hit me. He promised to stop, and I believed him. However, he physically abused me again and again.
I was scared every time I was with him. He was unpredictable and could go off on me anytime. I started praying for the session to end, so he could leave the school and me.
It took me 23 months before I found the courage to leave him. I know I should have left earlier, but I thought he needed me. Even after I walked away from the relationship, I was reeling. I suffered from PTSD for some time. The sight of boys triggered me, even if I knew them. I decided to get help and started seeing a psychologist. The sessions helped, and now, I feel like I’m beginning to remember who I was before I met him.
Lola, Female, University of Lagos
This happened at one of the freshers’ parties when I was in 100 level. The plan was to chill there for a while before I returned to my hostel. I didn’t even mingle with anyone — I stood in a spot and watched everything that was going on.
I saw some of the older students slipping something into the drinks of female students. It was stealthy done, but I caught it. I wasn’t sure what I saw until the girls were being led away. It didn’t seem like they were in control of themselves.
I wanted to do something, but I was so scared about what would happen to me if I did. I’d heard stories about girls being drugged at parties, but to see it up-close paralysed me.
The scene put me off totally, and I knew I had to leave immediately. It worried me so much, but I tried to sleep it off. If I doubted what I saw, it cleared when I heard a couple of students in my hostel talking about it the following day.
Chisom, Female, University of Nigeria
Sometime in my second year, I went out to get dinner. The queue at the restaurant was long, and when I returned to my hostel, the gate had been locked. I beckoned to the porter on duty to open the gate, but she ignored me. She thought I was being rude. So there I was, on a street that was almost empty, alone and scared. It didn’t help that there was a noise coming from an area close to where I was. They fought a lot in that place, and I feared that anything could happen in a moment. I became frantic and knocked more loudly, but nobody opened the gate.
A car pulled up beside me. Initially, I thought it was one of the security officers on patrol and felt some relief. But it was just a male student. I also thought he wanted to help me beg the porter, but he had other ideas. He gave me a speech about how a fight had broken out and how it was headed in my direction. I was borderline anxious now.
This guy asked me to follow him — he didn’t even say where — so he could keep me safe. I thanked him for the offer and explained that I was safer in front of my hostel. However, he kept coaxing me to come with him. He seemed desperate, and that worried me. He was even gently pulling me in the direction of his car. I was scared that he might force me into the car, but at the same time, I didn’t want him to leave.
Luckily, one of the people who lived in the hostel saw what was going on and alerted the porter. The lady eventually opened the gate, and when I looked back to thank the guy, he’d disappeared.
Timothy, Male, University of Calabar
It was 2017. Cultism was at an all-time high on campus. A church member from home came to write the university’s post-UTME, and I had to pick him up so he could spend the night with me. On our way to my hostel, we were accosted by another student. I recognised him as one of the dreaded cultists on campus. Let’s call him A.
The boy I was with wore a cap that had a touch of red, and that was why A stopped us. I tried to calm him down, explaining that the kid wasn’t a student and was only in school to write an examination. I knew we might be in trouble when one of the university security officers passed and he and A hailed each other. The man knew it was a hostage situation and went on his way. Eventually, I managed to calm A down, and he let us go. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the security guy and what he did.
And oh, by the way, A is late now. He was shot dead in his final year.
Oliver, University of Benin
I was returning to school from a trip to Warri, and I got back late to Osasogie — a community close to the school. The Keke operators had closed for the day, so I had to walk to my hostel. Everything was great for a minute until two guys appeared from the darkness and flashed a gun at me. My survival instincts went on an overdrive. I didn’t think much. I kicked the guy closest to me, and I ran. To my horror, they followed.
Unfortunately, my glasses fell off, and I crashed into the ground. In no time, they caught up with me again. Everything was a blur from that moment. They stabbed me a couple of times. When they were done, they took everything I had on me. I managed to get myself to my hostel, and I was rushed to the health centre. I spent two days there.
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Can’t get enough Aluta and Chill? Check back every Thursday at 9 AM for a new episode. Find other stories in the series here.