The Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-ife, was again on Wednesday thrown into mourning following the death of a 200-level student of the department of Linguistics and African Languages, Heritage Ajibola.
Ms Ajibola had fallen into an improperly kept soakaway at a private hostel within the university community. This led to her death.
The students of the university had on October 1, 2021, staged a mass protest against alleged negligence on the part of the management of the institution’s health centre, which led to the death of a final year student of the department of Foreign Languages, Aisha Adesina.
The university had been shut down while the then ongoing examination was suspended. The school was not reopened until many weeks.
The university management, while confirming Miss Ajibola’s death, said as soon as it got the information the emergency response team including its fire fighters and those from the Osun State Government, among others, were mobilised to the scene.
The university’s public relations officer, Abiodun Olarewaju, said the student was confirmed dead at the institution’s teaching hospital, where she was rushed to after a joint effort to retrieve her from the soakaway by the firefighters.
The statement by Mr Olarewaju reads in part: “The university management is saddened by this unfortunate incident. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, who led his management team to the scene, sympathised with the students and commiserated with the parents of the deceased.
“Professor Ogunbodede, who described the incident as tragic and unacceptable, promised to critically look into the circumstances that led to the student’s death and mete out appropriate sanctions against those involved or whoever is found culpable.
“The Vice Chancellor, therefore, appealed to the students to remain calm and law abiding as the police, who have been briefed, are also investigating.”
How Miss Ajibola died
Ogunperi Taofeek, the students’ union spokesperson told PREMIUM TIMES that Miss Ajibola “was trying to spread her clothes on the rope on Wednesday afternoon when she slipped and fell into the soakaway through an open part that was only covered with planks.”
He said one of her roommates with whom she was washing at the BVER hostel, a private hostel, raised the alarm and the university management mobilised the rescue team.
According to Mr Taofeek, the rescue effort took up to an hour, and the student was confirmed dead at the accident and emergency unit of OAU Teaching Hospital where she was immediately rushed to at about 5 p.m after she was removed from the soakaway.
A statement released by the students’ union as seen by PREMIUM TIMES noted that “Heritage’s death was avoidable if the soakaway system was properly constructed and covered, it is saddening that this has happened despite the huge amounts of money paid by students for rent.”
Mr Taofeek said the fact that someone could slip to a sewage system that was supposed to be constructed well means that “we need to question those in charge of those hostels and make sure they provide the right answers”.
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