Mak students decry rampant theft at campus

Students walk in Makerere University in the past. PHOTO/HANDOUT

What you need to know:

  • Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor, acknowledged in an interview that the university police had registered several theft cases.

Makerere University students have expressed their discontentment over rampant theft cases on campus.

According to the students, thieves break into their cars and take their valuables while others grab their bags.

Mr Douglas Opio, a third year student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with Education degree, said he has lost several valuables to thieves.“I was wrong to think my property is safe at campus, one time I lost a phone and a laptop in my car. I don’t know how someone opened the car and got my property and yet I had locked it,” Mr Opio told Daily Monitor last week.

Ms Maureen Abaasa, a second year student pursuing Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication, said she lost a phone last month to a snatcher as she was going for evening lectures at around 7:30pm, and asked the management to beef up security on campus.

Mr Reagan Hashaka, the university security minister, acknowledged that they are registering several theft cases, especially of car break-ins. 

“The vice of unknown people breaking into students cars is rampant. One month ago, there was one that broke into a student’s car, he was captured by police and remanded to Kitalya prison,” Mr Hashaka said in a telephone interview last week.

He added that they are trying their best to orient students on how to observe vigilance while on campus.

“It is hard to pinpoint thieves without getting them in action,” Mr Hashaka said.
He also blamed the cases of theft in the university premises on some careless students.

“Theft has also been increased by the negligence of the students who are being tricked by con men and women, as well as walking in the weird hours of the night and most of them don’t carry identity cards,” he revealed.

Mr Hashaka also said the university management is not doing enough to ensure that enough police officers are deployed at different colleges to ensure safety of students’ property.

“The number of police officers at campus is very small compared to the students they guard,” he said.

Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the vice chancellor, acknowledged in an interview that the university police had registered several theft cases, which he attributed to the university’s incomplete perimeter fence.

He said thieves use the porous fence to go into the university and steal from students.

“We have received incidents of reports of thieves grabbing people’s phones and bags. We have sections of the perimeter fence that are not completely built and thieves are taking advantage of this,” Prof Nawangwe said last week.

He added: “We are working hard to ensure that we eliminate all kinds of theft and robbery by continuing with the construction of the perimeter fence, but also by ensuring that there are foot patrols by our police day and night. We have arrested quite a number of such petty thieves who have been arraigned in court and some property which has been stolen, recovered.”

Recent case
On March 19, a suspected thief was nearly lynched by Makerere University students when he snatched a phone from  one Lydia Nalumansi as she was printing notes at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at around 10:30am.
 

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