…varsity shut as students protest mates’ death
Three members of the same family and five others lost their lives in a motor accident at the gate of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) on Saturday. The university was shut yesterday.
The accident, which claimed not less than eight lives, occurred when a truck
carrying cement lost control and rammed into a shop close to the university campus.
A student, who confirmed the death of the siblings, said they were making photocopies of some documents when the trailer lost control and rammed into them, killing students, shop owners and residents of the town on the spot.
Two of the siblings were final year students while the other was in part two. Some youths yesterday prevented the Ondo State government delegation from accessing Akungba-Akoko following the accident.
Before then, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, the Acting Registrar, Mr. Ope Akinfemiwa, and the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Otunba Gboyega Adefarati, had visited the campus to assess the level of damage. Ige, who got to the scene at 8.45am, expressed displeasure over the incident.
He commiserated with the families of victims and described the accident as a tragedy for the host community, the management of the university and the Nigerian students.
The VC said though some students lost their lives in the accident, their colleagues had been placated not to take law into their hands.
He said: “Sadly, it is a tragedy to the community and all Nigerian students. It is painful some of our students were involved and sadly they lost their lives for coming to school to learn and to get themselves educated.
“The last one that happened, we had to constitute a committee whose recommendations we have implemented. “The committee recommended that roadside trading should be banned and the community market should be relocated and it was complied with.”
But the government’s delegation, led the Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr. Olugbenga Ale, which also included the state Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami, the Pro-Chancellor of AAUA, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, and other senior officials, was prevented from getting to the university community.
The fierce looking youths, who were chanting war songs, demanded the presence of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu himself. The visitors were stopped at Iwaro Road junction in Akungba-Akoko. The protesters complained of government’s neglect and inaction in the face of wanton destruction of lives and property in the community.
The Police Commissioner, Salami, was allowed to enter the community with the vehicle conveying him only. To pave way for the dignitaries, Adefarati pleaded with the youth, but to no avail.
The intervention by the paramount ruler of the kingdom, Oba Isaac Sunday Adeyeye Ajimo, the Alale of Akungba, also yielded no result.
Meanwhile, the management has shut the university and directed the students to go back home. A circular signed by the Acting Registrar, Akinfemiwa, said the closure was sequel to the protest by students over the death of their colleagues in the accident.
The circular reads: “The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, on behalf of the Senate, has directed that the university be closed with immediate effect until further notice. “All students are therefore advised to vacate the campus latest by 6pm today, Sunday 24th January, 2021.”