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Confusion, rituals fear at UI as ‘sponge and soap’-collecting woman’s nabbed

Residents of Obafemi Awolowo Hall, an on-campus accommodation for students at the University of Ibadan were thrown into confusion during the weekend after an alarm was raised as a woman was calling at rooms asking for sponge and soap.

The woman who was identified as Wuraola Oluwi gained entry into the hall, on Saturday, as a visitor by registering herself in the hall’s visitors’ book with her National Identity Card, stating she was to see one Dupe in room D-40 (a name later found to be false).

Ms Oluwi was reportedly given a sponge and a bar soap by Opeyemi and Precious (surnames withheld) respectively. The pair, upon her request, gave her the items without any further inquiry of what the items were to be used for except “to bathe.”

Wuraola Oluwi

“She told me she wanted to wash her hair and needed a sponge, said Opeyemi. “So I handed her my sponge used for washing plates.”

Precious expressed her utter surprise and fear over the rumour that the woman intended to use the items for ritual purpose. “I didn’t know what she had in mind; I gave her the soap when she told me she wanted to have a bath because she was coming from a vigil at Redemption camp and was exhausted,” she said shaking, amidst fear of the trueness of the rumour.

The main trigger of confusion that enveloped the hall happened when Ms Oluwi moved further in her mission of collecting sponge and soap to a resident on F-block who was bewildered by the request and then, alerted other residents of her supposedly ‘fetish’ mission to cause them harm.

She was immediately taken down to the Porters’ lodge by some of the hall’s executives including the President herself, Borokini Funmilayo.

When she was quizzed on where she lived and how she got to the hall, she said: “I live at Ogba (presumably in Lagos). I came to Awo to ask for sponge and soap because I was coming from Redeem and there was a gridlock; so I found my way here, and I’ve always admired Awo hall. I’d want to see my children stay in this hall when they gain admission.”

Upon hearing her incoherent and contradicting answers to questions, the hall President rang her husband to verify her identity and some of her earlier claims such as her whereabouts.

“She told me she was going to see her mother at Ogba Aguda. What happened to her? Please, tell me because she is sick (mentally),” her husband responded on phone.

Meanwhile, the school’s security office had been informed of the situation on phone and soon enough, the security personnel popularly called Abefe arrived to investigate the matter.

Subsequently, her mother called to know what had happened to her.

“Hello, where are you? (in Yoruba, Lagos dialect),” she inquired.

“I’m in UI, Ibadan,” Ms Oluwi responded.

“Se o ni owo motor ni? (Are you not with transport fare?). Come home quickly,” her mother asked further.

One of the security officers spoke with the mother and told her that her daughter (Wuraola) would need to go with them to their office.

“Please, let her go. She is mentally ill,” she pleaded.

After the phone conversation was over, she was taken to their station alongside Opeyemi and Precious to record their statements and to continue their investigation on the matter.

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