By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos
The Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday released 58 out of 69 students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, earlier arrested for suspected internet fraud.
Earlier, the anti-graft agency arrested the students EFCC in a midnight raid on hostels outside the campus. According to the commission, they were nabbed at Oduduwa Estate area of Ile-Ife following “actionable intelligence” on their suspected involvement in fraudulent internet-related activities.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Coordinator for South-West, John Alao confirmed the students’ release to Channels Television in a telephone conversation.
Also confirming the release, the EFCC spokesman, Dele Oyewale, said “Many of the suspects duly profiled by the Command have been released, while profiling of suspects yet un-released will be completed, without further delay.”
Oyewale, however, did not indicate the exact number of students that were released.
“In line with the newly-reviewed procedures on arrest and bail of suspects by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ola Olukoyede has directed that sting operations at night time be stopped in all the Commands of the EFCC,” the statement read.
“The Commission wishes to assure the public that it will not relent in its adherence to the rule of law, in the exercise of its mandate.”
Before their release, OAU students had stormed the EFCC office in Ibadan, decrying their colleague’s arrest.
The protesting students carried various placards, expressing disappointment at the action of the anti-graft agency.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read, “I am a medical student, not a Yahoo boy,” “Why remove the CCTV cameras if you are armed robbers,” and “Criminals trying to arrest criminals,” among others.
At the EFCC Ibadan office, operatives of the anti-graft commission had barricaded their premises with watertight security.
Despite the tight presence of security officials, the OAU students were calling on the leadership of the commission to attend to them.