Stakeholders converged today, Monday, November 18, 2019 at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Juja Main Campus, to deliberate on pertinent security concerns that have affected the Juja community including students and members of public.
The consultative meeting brought together the Juja business community, University community, Hostel owners, Security agencies and local leaders with the aim of exploring ways to arrest the increasing state of insecurity where students have been the main victims.
The meeting was convened by the University Management following a recommendation of the University Senate last week.
During the meeting, various stakeholders highlighted the security challenges they are facing in their endeavor to provide services to the Juja community, as well as their efforts to create a safe environment especially for the JKUAT students who constitute their main clientele. The issues ranged from peddling and abuse of drugs and substances, poor lighting along Juja streets and estates where students reside, poor water and sanitation among others.
Addressing the stakeholders, JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, recounted the events of last week where students went on strike citing insecurity around the University, and made a passionate appeal to those present to forge ahead and address the issues for the sake of all stakeholders.
“Since then we have been engaging various stakeholders and the University Senate recommended a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss the issue of insecurity,” she said.
Prof. Ngumi reported that the University has held several meetings already with area leaders, security organs at County and National levels, and “the main problem has been the issue of insecurity.”
As a result, the country’s security systems has been concerned leading to a raft of measures aimed at enhancing security in Juja, in terms of police patrols, and the controlled hours of bodaboda operations.
On the issue of lighting around the University, the Vice Chancellor appealed to the local administration to set up more lights in strategic points outside the University where cases of muggings and violence against JKUAT students and staff have been reported.
Although the issue of surveillance cameras around Juja had been raised with top security organs, Prof. Ngumi further requested the local administration to look into the matter. She assured of the University’s continued commitment to enhance lighting within the campus.
As a measure to ensure students get access to clean and safe water, Prof. Ngumi said, the University would extend its Corporate Social Responsibility by conducting tests to determine the quality of water students use in their hostels outside the University.
Deputy County Commissioner, Mr. Charles Mureithi, who led the security team, said hostels outside the University need to be lit properly, adding that County, Sub-county and the University Security had mapped areas that need lighting. He further noted that most landlords do not have functional security lights thus compromising security.
He urged hostel owners “to undertake the vetting of tenants to establish if they are genuine students” to avoid infiltration of criminals masquerading as students in their hostels.
Mr. Mureithi advised hostel owners to team up and hire security personnel (guards) to man their installations. “Bodaboda and bars will not operate after 11.pm and there will be demolition of structures around the University’s perimeter wall,” he stated.
He announced the formation of a WhatsApp platform that will enable university students and security and tenants to engage on matters of security, as well as an anonymous SMS platform (988) that students and other stakeholders can use to report any incidences that threaten the security within the University and around Juja.
Area Member of Parliament, Hon. Francis Waititu who was represented by Mr. Joseph Muraya, assured the University administration and other stakeholders of his support towards ensuring there is security in Juja, while Juja MCA, Kalpesh Jayantilal decried insufficient street lights and urged University administration to advise students staying outside the University to occupy hostels that are well secured.
The meeting was also addressed by Business Owners Representative, Mr. Kimani Kang’ethe who said, the disruption of learning at JKUAT was not in the best interest of the business community and thanked the University Management for convening the stakeholders’ meeting. Others who spoke include; Lawrence Mwaura (Hostel Owners Representative); Juja Sub-county Commander, Dorothy Migarusha; the Deputy Vice Chancellors, Dean of Students, Chief Security Officer, Director of University Community Collaboration Department, Prof. Philip Ngunjiri, among others.