OAU shut down over students’ protest

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Following raging protests by the students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife over the death of a final year student, Aishat Omowumi Adesina, last Thursday evening, the management of the institution has shut down the campus and ordered students to vacate their halls of residence.

According to a statement issued by the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olanrewaju, yesterday, the management condemned “in strong terms the continuous and uncontrolled protests by the students culminating in unbridled brigandage, blocking the Ife/Ibadan and Ife/Ede highways and other adjoining roads that could be used as alternative routes.”

The students noted that students also engaged in other acts that were detrimental to their health and the safety of the generality of the people.

“Therefore, having exhausted all necessary avenues to call the students to order and allow normalcy to return to the Campus and its environs, the authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, have accordingly closed down the school until further notice. This is to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

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“In view of this, all students are hereby directed to vacate their halls of residence and the campus latest by 12:00 noon on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

“Consequently, the swearing-in of the newly elected Students’ Union officials has been put on hold, pending a review of the situation.

“In the meantime, the university management has put in place the machinery to unravel the circumstances surrounding the immediate and remote cause(s) of the crisis,” the statement added.

The students had staged a protest against the management of the institution over the death of a final year colleague, Adeshina, of the department of Foreign Languages.

The protesting undergraduates claimed that Aishat died as a result of the negligence of the school’s health centre. They further claimed that the student was brought to the medical facility on emergency but medical personnel on duty refused to give the deceased attention.

It was gathered that Aishat was having complications with breathing when she was rushed to the health centre and that she was later transferred to Seventh Day Adventist hospital in the ancient town where she eventually died.

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Angered by her demise, the students stormed the institution’s health centre in protest.

They also moved out of the campus and blocked the busy Ife/Ibadan expressway for some hours yesterday. The protesting students, who were chanting songs to express their displeasure, prevented vehicular movements as they stood on the Campus/Lagere road and Ife/Ibadan expressway.

Meanwhile, the Student Union of the institution has called on the management to investigate the matter. A statement released by Olalekan Ogunperi, Public Relations Officer-elect of Great Ife Student Union, lamented that many students had lost their lives as a result of negligence at the school health centre.

“Adesina Aishat, a 400 level student at the Department of Foreign Languages, just joined the list of many students who have lost their lives due to negligence at the Health Centre of the university. It saddens our heart that a member of our Union has to be returned home as a corpse when her family expects her to be a graduate with prospects.

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“We send our condolences to the family of the deceased. But while we mourn Aishat, we cannot lose sight of the circumstances that led to her death, especially the role of the University Health Centre. Aishat’s death is not the first to happen due to negligence of duties by the workers at the Health Center. It is only one out of many.

“We call on the university management to investigate this death and punish all health workers who failed in performing their duties when Aishat needed attendance which they failed to give but only transferred her in her last moments to Seventh Day Hospital where she eventually died. Without a proper and quick investigation (one which must actively involve and be communicated to students) and punishment meted, the university management will be putting the lives of students in danger. We cannot let our lives become toys. We will have to protest this, as we cannot afford to keep losing our lives like fowls. Our lives matter!” Ogunperi said.

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