April 19, 2024

Unilagsun

Serving the university community

UNILAG Convocation: Traffic and Security in Focus

By Ukey Elizabeth, Obia Ogechi, Oluwasegun Adeoye and  Bobade Oyinlola

There is no doubt a need to pay more attention to everything and everyone that is associated with UNILAG during its convocation ceremony, which always lasts for a week. The event draws different individuals from near and distant places, making it a busy time with many activities. 

The curiosity and expectations of people concerning this year’s ceremony are high because developments are expected in various spheres of life, and this aspect isn’t exempted. While speaking to our reporters, the Chief Security officer, Mr Sunday Alao Adekalu, and a duty officer in charge of the security unit, Mr Adeyemi Taiwo, fed our curiosity. The CSO mentioned that Prof. Oluyemi of the Department of Geography headed a separate traffic team. For efficiency, however, the security team members join them to help relieve the burden.

Mr Adekalu clarified that many measures are implemented to ensure a smooth run during the event and a hitch-free celebration. He also made us understand that they make sure to get helping hands from government officials. “There are no systems that are perfect. We don’t have enough personnel, and that’s why we bring our security agencies: the police, FRSC, LASTMA, and so many others. We may not have enough strength to face the crowd, but we won’t allow them to come in excess.” 

Through implementing these measures, they can take control and make things right. Also, many people fear government officials in uniform because they worry about getting fined or being locked up, so they obey the rules instead of causing trouble.

On car parking, he explained that there are different categories of car parks for different people. “Car park A is Faculty of Arts, B is Faculty of Science to Staff School area and then park C covers DLI area.” He added that the presence of the security men and the barriers placed at different points help to ensure adherence to the car park divisions.

He further discussed the process of managing the traffic on the roads leading to the university, which might be blocked and congested due to the event. The team usually employed the services of UNILAG radio to sensitize the community and its environs, deploying alternate routes, traffic updates and fines and penalties that defaulters face for flouting the rules. 

In his words, “We are used to it. We have been doing it for years. This is my 32nd year of service in this university. We are already experts on it. So many security agencies that we have in one way or the other, laid complaints that we can’t do it alone. We don’t have enough people in our own security team, we don’t have guns, etc. Police sitting down alone fully uniformed is already a threat to criminals. We might be attacked, but when they see FRSC or LASTMA, they will have to obey. That is why we know what to do. For the past three years now, we don’t have much problem concerning this. Also, we have to block the Pako route. People who drive to Oyingbo will have to follow Akoka and come out somewhere. People that come from Yaba enter Abule Oja, and come out at Pako.”

The work, however, has not been without its difficulties as they had had many issues in previous years, which led to a replanning and reworking of their strategies.

“Before we got to this stage, we’ve been having problems with traffic and congestion; but after re-strategizing, it has been helping us for the past three years now. The areas are sometimes scanty. It’s only traffic from pedestrians and humans you can see coming in and then those people coming in with their different car park tickets are allowed to come in.”

Although the ceremony is usually highly tense and stressful, Mr Adekalu said it has been manageable lately. “Because of the management’s instruction that no partying within the campus during that period is allowed. Initially, there were usually parties everywhere on campus during this period. That is where the stress is almost enormous. But now that parties have been restrained from campus, I think the stress is a little bit minimal. Though there is stress, no doubt about that, because it’s not easy for one to see and control that kind of crowd  coming in and out, but the stress is a bit minimal now because of some of those measures that have been put in place to curtail the excesses of people around.” 

We also delved into the security situation of the school and what it has been like managing students and their vices. He mentioned that orientation is one of the biggest mediums they use to share security tips and correct procedures to follow in certain situations. He also added that there was a no-leniency rule for criminal activities. 

“Any student caught smoking or drinking would first be taken to the medical centre for a test. If found positive to any harmful effect, they would have to face the panel and bear the consequences.” 

He added that sometimes, some issues are out of the school’s jurisdiction and would require intervention from the police force. Issues like cultism, selling of Indian hemp and other hard substances, rape, handling of guns, he said, would warrant the police stepping in to handle them. 

According to Adeyemi Taiwo, “The issues we usually involve the police in are mostly those that have to do with outsiders. those people who are not students but come on campus and maybe steal students’ items or whatever. Those ones don’t have any records with us so we have to take due process of the law against them.”

The highest crime on campus and amongst students was unanimously agreed to be theft and bed space fraud. The CSO mentioned that that was the majority of issues they had to solve almost daily. He cited an instance of someone selling one particular space to 3 different people for over #700,000 and brought the issue to them when they discovered that they had been scammed. 

In light of the upcoming convocation ceremony, the CSO and traffic team wishes and hopes everyone adheres to the traffic rules and regulations to ensure a smooth and hitch-free event.

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