VOX POP: THE SECURITY STATE OF ENGELBERT BEYER CENTRE
Engelbert Beyer Centre, popularly known as Catholic hostel, is one of the housing facilities available to students of College of Medicine. Many regard it as a pricier, comfort oriented option. Unfortunately, it seems those residing in the facility are forced to forgo a sense of safety for comforts such as an en suite bathroom and soundproof walls. In recent times, the security of the hostel has fallen in ruin with its security guard sustaining bodily harm at the hands of suspected thieves. This occurred on the heels of a theft that left the residents traumatized and was followed by the collapse of a segment of their fence leading one to wonder who the residents of the hostel may have offended. The fence was fixed a week later, however the injured guard still nurses a limp and another incident of theft has occurred. Here is what the residents think:
How does the state of security of the hostel make you feel?
Henry: “It makes me feel vulnerable. I feel like my devices are at risk.”
Owaji-Oniro: “It makes me feel like my safety is in jeopardy.”
Rhoda: “I’m really scared. I have problems falling asleep now. I’m always listening for footsteps or strange noises.”
Anonymous: “I feel like the security is worsening. It feels less safe everyday. We are all on edge.”
How did the response of the management to the recent security mishaps make you feel?
Henry: “I don’t think the response was fast but I don’t blame the management. I do, however, think they should listen to us more.”
Owaji-Oniro: “It made me feel small, like my concerns were not valid and my fears were and are unfounded. I feel like no matter what I say, as long as I have handed over my rent, they don’t care.”
Rhoda: “Angry. But it’s something I’m used to since I came from CMF. It seems all private hostels are poorly managed. I think it’s a Nigerian problem to be lackadaisical.”
Anonymous: “I have not been enthusiastic about a drastic response. We’ve had reports on changes to be made but it’s hard believing them, when they don’t come quickly enough and it’s your own life that is directly being affected.”
In terms of security, do you feel ABH is faring better?
Henry: “I don’t know much about the security situation in ABH but I feel they are safer because they have numbers on their side. We definitely have a higher percentage of victims.”
Owaji-Oniro: “Both hostels have had a string of robbery attempts and successes but I think ABH is more advantageous. A lot of people stay up late and can be seen walking around the corridors in ABH unlike here where we all stay in our rooms. Also, the way Catholic hostel is sited facing the road feels like a security hazard because anyone walking outside UCH can just look at it and decide it is robbery-worthy. We also do not have a Defense Minister actively trying to reduce theft and protect the community. What we have is a manager who goes home by 4:00p.m. and a security guard who sleeps at night.”
Rhoda: “Yes I do. We’ve been robbed up to 5 times in a short period I think.”
Anonymous: “I feel ABH fares better. ABH faces a major UCH road but here, we’re facing a major Ibadan road. The risk is much higher here. They have a dedicated Defense Minister as well looking out for their interests with remarkable results. Our security guard is far less competent in comparison.”
What do you suppose can be improved on?
Henry: “A second security guard, preferably armed.”
Owaji-Oniro: “The hostel should have a fence surrounding it as a whole, not just the fence that separates it from the road. I also think that fence should be raised and we should consider electric fences. We should also have at least two trained professionals guarding the hostel, not just any random seemingly able-bodied man.”
Rhoda: “We need a fence, and gates for each floor. I also think we need tighter security in UCH as a whole.”
Anonymous: “Trained professional guards. We desperately need that as well as having more hands on deck and a fence or some barrier that keeps random strangers from just walking up to our individual doors.”
In a bid to obtain a more comfortable accommodation or any accommodation really, it appears the residents of Catholic Hostel have to continually gamble with their safety. Their embittered cries for improvement continually go unheard. We can only hope something tangible is done before the situation becomes too dire.