The Unilorin ‘pugilist’

IT is not entirely clear why Mr. Salaudeen Waliu Aanuoluwa (aka Captain Walz), a final year student of the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Ilorin, set upon Mrs. Rahmat Zakariyau, a female lecturer in the department, on the afternoon of Thursday November 11, dragging her from her office and pummeling her repeatedly until incredulous bystanders came to her rescue. According to reports in the media, Mr. Aanuoluwa had become desperate after repeated pleas to have his mandatory Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) waived were turned down by Mrs. Zakariyau. Mr. Aanuoluwa must have felt he had a solid force majeure following his arrest and detention in Lagos by the police for two months, which prevented him from carrying out his SIWES.

But why take out his frustration on Mrs. Zakariyau, who was neither his level adviser nor his supervisor? And even if she were, she could not have acceded to Mr. Aanuoluwa’s request, as such would have been irregular, if not outright illegal. Was Mrs. Zakariyau targeted because she is female? Mr. Aanuoluwa agreed that he had lost his rag, that he did in fact confront Mrs. Zakariyau in her office, but that he only attacked her after she had thrown a mug at him. His words: “I got angry. I don’t know what came over me. I started arguing and she told me to leave her office. I asked what was she going to do her if I didn’t leave her. She then threw a mug at me which injured me, and I started beating her.”

Mr. Aanuoluwa’s story does not add up. Why did Mrs. Zakariyau throw a mug at him? What had he said to her that provoked her to throw a mug at him, assuming she did, something that Mrs. Zakariyau denies? Whatever may have been the specific facts of the case, there is no arguing that Mr. Aanuoluwa showed bad judgment and acted in the most irresponsible manner in attacking a lecturer, and a female one at that.

It is bad enough that he sought to bypass a mandatory departmental procedure by putting a female lecturer under unrelenting pressure. It is even more egregious that, having failed, he went out of his way to inflict physical violence on the said lecturer. His frustration at not being able to carry out his SIWES is understandable, particularly as he seems to have been a victim of bad luck. But there is no justification for his action, and the authorities of the University of Ilorin have done the right thing by expelling him from the university following his arraignment before the Student Disciplinary Committee and handing him over to the police for prosecution.

Mr. Aanuoluwa’s action typifies the culture across the Nigerian society of individuals taking the law into their own hands instead of taking their grievances before properly constituted institutions. The result is a banality of violence in which might is right, and the rule of law is degraded.


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