Following raging student protests at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, over the death of a final-year student, Aishat Omowumi Adesina, last Thursday evening, the institution’s management has shut down the campus and ordered students to vacate their halls of residence.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olanrewaju, the management condemned “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.”
Students also noted that students engaged in other acts that were harmful to their health and the safety of the general public.
“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.
“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 institution’s management following the death of a final-year colleague from the department of Foreign Languages, Adeshina.
The protesting undergraduates claimed that Aishat died as a result of the school’s health center’s carelessness. They also claimed that the student was brought to the medical facility in an emergency, but that the medical personnel on duty refused to treat the deceased.
According to reports, Aishat was having breathing problems when she was rushed to the hospital, and she was later transferred to the Seventh Day Adventist hospital in the ancient town, where she died.
Students were outraged by her death and stormed the institution’s health center in protest.
They also left campus and clogged the busy Ife/Ibadan expressway for several hours yesterday. Students protesting on the Campus/Lagere road and the Ife/Ibadan expressway were chanting songs to express their displeasure and obstructing vehicular traffic.
Meanwhile, the institution’s Student Union has requested that the matter be investigated. Olalekan Ogunperi, Public Relations Officer-elect of Great Ife Student Union, issued a statement lamenting the deaths of many students as a result of negligence at the school health center.
“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!” said Ogunperi.