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OAU Shut Down Following Protest Over Student’s Death

Students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife staged a protest on Friday the 1st of October 2021, over the death of Miss Adeshina Aishat Omowunmi, a final student of the Department of Foreign Languages of the institution. The deceased who gave up the ghost during the late hours of the 30th of September 2021 at the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife was said to have been referred to the private teaching hospital following complications that occurred at the University Health Centre, where she was rushed to initially.

Investigations revealed negligence on the part of the health workers at the University Health Centre, which led to the death of the student. According to students who observed the situation, the deceased came in complaining of a shortage of breath but the workers at the health centre showed negligence and were not ready to attend to the student. The industrial strike embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) also delayed the decision on whether to refer the student to the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC) or somewhere else outside the university. The conclusion to refer the deceased student to SDA was not proactive enough and this led to her death at the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA)Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife.

Following Miss Adeshina’s death, enraged students marched from the Student Union Building (SUB) to the Health Centre but the place was locked. They then agreed to take the protest to the University Main Gate, which is about 4km away from the main campus environment. After several minutes at the main gate, the Dean, Division of Students Affairs, Professor Isiaka Aransi came to address the students but the students insisted that the person they want to hear from is the Vice-Chancellor as this is not the first time a student has died as a result of the negligence of the workers at the University Health Centre.

 

 

 

The students continued their protest and this led to the barricade of the Ife/Ede/Osogbo road which is directly opposite the campus gate and by extension the Ife/Ibadan expressway. After some hours, the University’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Abiodun Olanrewaju also came to address the situation but the students insisted on only wanting to hear from the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede.

In a new development, a press release dated 1st of October, 2021, released from the Office of the Registrar and signed by the University’s registrar, M.I. Omosule (Mrs) stated that having exhausted all necessary avenues to call the students to order and allow normalcy to return to the campus and its environs, the University has been shut down till further notice. This is to forestall further breakdown of law and order. Also, all students living in the halls of residence and campus were asked to evacuate the school by 12:00noon on Saturday, 2nd of October, 2021. The ongoing rain semester of the 2019/2020 academic session has also been put on hold till further notice. Consequently, the swearing-in of the Students’ Union Officers who were newly elected last month following the union’s reinstatement has been put on hold pending a review of the situation.

The students held a candlelight procession for the deceased that day and promised not to leave the University environment as shutting down the University by the management was not the best option. Instead, it allowed the university management to shy away from its primary duties. They vowed that the protest would continue the following day, Saturday 2nd of October, 2021. Though a protest was staged the following day, the Students’ Union officials met with the school management and dialogue on the reopening of the campus is ongoing. A statement from the officials of the Union called for the suspension of the protest stating that the students should await a new development on the reopening of the university very soon.

As of the time of filing this report, most students staying on campus have vacated the halls and moved in with friends off-campus pending the review of the situation. Still, a few students can be seen in their respective halls of residence on campus as there has been no forceful removal of students.

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