The safety of the UDS students over the last couple of years has been one that causes some fear and panic in the lives of students. The situation can’t be taken for granted.
Robbery attacks on students usually end up with the students receiving cutlass wounds from their assailants. These young men who perpetrate these crimes are well known indigenes of Wa.
On June 18, 2014 a male student was attacked on the Wa Polytechnic Street and left unconscious until he was found the following morning by a Good Samaritan who rushed him to the hospital for treatment. The student had his head smashed and still lives with the scar and periodic headaches.
On October 26, 2015 two students – a male and female – were attacked at the Shekafatu Islamic Primary and Junior School, at Mangu, in the Wa Municipality. The female student in an attempt to flee the scene came face to face with her assailant who inflicted cutlass wounds on her head, arm, thigh and fingers while she was defending herself. The male student who after a first hit on his waist which landed on his belt, fled before further harm could be done to him.
On July 2, 2017 two young men went to a private hostel to rob students of their belongings. They ended up inflicting severe cutlass wounds on a student who tried to defend himself. The student was referred to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital when he was rushed to the Upper West Regional Hospital.
Although, in the October 26, 2015 as well as July 2, 2017 cases the criminals were identified, arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to prison, the matter needs attention. It’s no pleasant experience that a guardian or a parent receives a call only to be told that armed robbers have inflicted cutlass wounds on his or her ward. The situation leaves much to be desired. Safety of human beings everywhere is critical to the development of our societies and no university can be attractive when there’s an unsafe environment for students.
These experiences will dissuade potential students from applying to the Wa Campus of the university. Again, it sends the signal that the Wa Municipality is not safe and as such the police must get their acts together in combating crime and its related activities in the Municipality. There’s a truth that no police officer would openly admit: that they are poorly resourced to fight crime. The Police are doing their best but, it’s high time they opened up and told the public the factors that hinder their work in no uncertain terms.
It’s true that the authorities of the university can’t go round choosing for students where to go or where to stay; but, there’re some efforts that can be made to create a safe environment for the students of the university. Without the students there will be no university as well as the authorities of the university, so if students are unsafe then there’s the need to address the recurrent robbery and the consequent cutlass wound inflicting attacks on students and create a safe environment for students of the University.
Also, the Students’ Representative Council of the University must address the safety of the students. The student population of the university are scattered all over the Wa Municipality so it’s difficult to properly know the welfare of every student, nevertheless the Students’ Representative Council must identify ways of ensuring that the students are safe.
Most of the landlords of the private hostels have no concern for the safety and security of their tenants. It’s sad that after paying huge sums of money for a room in a hostel one can’t be safe. On holidays, these hostels are broken into by criminals who steal the belongings of these students. The landlords of these hostels must be made to understand that as much as there’s the need to make money, there’s equally the need to ensure that tenants and their properties are safe.
Students must also become security conscious at every point in time. It’s important that every student remains alert. One can’t take for granted these unfortunate incidents. It’s said that when one hears of a neighbour’s burning beard, there’s the need to keep water by one’s own beard.
The robbery attack on students is rife. It beats the attack of the swarm of bees and stone pelting experience of Professor Kwesi Yankah and his friends when they travelled from Wa to Tamale to stage a play on the freedom of Nelson Mandela years ago.
The safety of UDS students on Wa Campus can’t be discounted. It can make the university unattractive to potential students. Who would want to learn in an unsafe environment?
The writer is a freelance journalist.