The management of the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, has explained its decision to suspend the activities of its students’ union.
The union was suspended following a students protest against alleged nonchalance by officials at the school clinic, which led to the death of a student.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the death of a student of the school, Aminu Hammed, who died on May 31 due to the alleged negligence of the school’s clinic officers.
Late Hammed, a Higher National Diploma student of the institution’s Department of Applied Chemistry, slumped in the examination hall on Friday.
It was also gathered from multiple sources that the deceased was rushed to the clinic around 4 p.m. but the clinic officers insisted they had closed for the day and did not attend to him.
He died when the students took him to a nearby private hospital.
In protest, some students set the school clinic and medical equipment ablaze on Saturday. The timely intervention of the school’s security officials prevented the fire from spreading to other buildings in the school.
During the protest staged on Saturday, the school’s ambulance, drugs, and equipment in the clinic were burnt.
In response, the school’s management ordered the immediate closure of the institution to forestall breakdown of law and order. It also suspended student union activities.
Reason for action – Management
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, the spokesperson of the institution, Tope Abiola, defended the suspension of the union activities by the management.
He stated that the students took laws into their hands by burning down the clinic.
“They went to destroy the health centre. They carted away so many things there. They looted the health centre. The students’ union President declared that he was the one that led the protest. He said the protest was hijacked from him.
“The union activities have been suspended. If they do anything now. It is on their own. If the president is saying anything, it is not on behalf of the union.”
When asked about the demand for a 24-hour medical service by the students to forestall future tragedies, he stated that the school cannot provide that.
“Normally, the school closes by 4 p.m, with all civil servants in the state and the school cannot be an exception. How can we keep the medical officers in school when everyone has gone home, even when they have no one to attend to?”
He added that the school is still investigating the crisis and cannot give a specific date for resumption yet.
Meanwhile, the union, in a press release signed by its president, Bolaji Olaniyi, distanced itself from the vandalisation of the clinic.
“The Students Union had perceived that some aggrieved quarters will vandalise the Medical Centre on the 1st June, 2019 under the guise of violent protest, However, in a bid to forestall such appalling fate, the Students Union deemed it necessary to lead the protest in a peaceful manner so as to avert a devastating narrative of vandalisation and push our positions forward to the authorities of the institution.
“To ensure that the protest was peaceful, the president had notified all security agencies. The protest had in attendance the DPO of the Police Station, Iree Divisional headquarters.
“At about 7:15 a.m., the President himself shut down the campus main-gate to impede entrance. The students, who had gathered in front of the main gate were later addressed at about 7:45 a.m., by the President of the Students Union, where he affirmed the Union’s stance on a peaceful protest against a perceived anomaly and emphasised the need for a peaceful conduct of the students in the process.”
He condemned the destruction of properties but maintained the students’ body had convened a peaceful protest “but some hoodlums and enemies of the institution gained entrance through another route to perpetrate these nefarious acts.”