OAU shut as aggrieved students protesting colleague’s death block highways

Aggrieved students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife, Osun State, on Friday blocked the Ede/Ife road and the Ife/Ibadan expressway to protest the death of one of their colleagues and 400-level student of the Department of Foreign Languages, Aishat Adesina.

The students during the protest halted vehicular movement on the roads, leading to traffic gridlock, while many commuters looked for alternative routes to reach their destinations.

The development has however led to the closure of the institution. A statement on Friday by the varsity’s spokesperson, Abiodun Olarewaju, announced the immediate closure of the institution and ordered students to vacate their halls of residence before 12pm on Saturday (today).

The management also put on hold the swearing-in of the newly elected Students’ Union officials, pending review of the situation.

The statement read in parts, “However, Management condemns 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, and engaging in other acts that are 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 the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, have accordingly closed down the school until further notice. This is to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

“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 Students Union officials, Odewale Damilare, Secretary General-elect and Olayiwola Festus,

President-elect, had in a statement alleged that negligence by workers at the university’s Health Centre caused the student’s death.

The students alleged that workers at the centre failed to attend to the student when she reported to the facility to complain about her health. They claimed that she was referred without proper investigation to the Seventh Day Hospital where she eventually died.

They called on the management of the university to investigate the incident leading to the death and ensure adequate punishment for any worker found to have failed to perform their duties.

“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 the 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.’’

Earlier in a statement, Olanrewaju said workers at the health centre did their best when the deceased student reported at the facility before she was referred for further treatment.

Olanrewaju appealed to the students to remain calm and refrain from any act that could jeopardise the peace on campus and disrupt the semester.

He said, “The student reported to the Health Centre on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 with signs and symptoms of a severe infection.  She was promptly treated with some drugs prescribed and asked to report back as an outpatient.

“Miss Adesina reported back to the Health Centre on Thursday, September 30, 2021. Upon examination, she was referred to the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital for further management where she regrettably died.’’

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