Vice Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, Prof. Kolawole Jaiyeoba, has debunked claims that the university was negligent in the incident that led to the death of a student, Elvis Paul Abu. Briefing journalists on Wednesday at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos, Jaiyeoba noted that the students were law-abiding and that it was unknown persons that hijacked the situation and vandalised the university’s property.
According to him, the father of the deceased did not attack anyone on the campus as reported. He added that a panel had been set up to look into immediate and remote causes of the incident, saying directives on when students would resume would soon be given.
His words: “It was an unfortunate incident in which the university did not show any negligence but which was blown out of proportion by the media whose representatives did not even bother to crosscheck facts. It was a period during which many individuals, organisations and stakeholders have expressed sympathy and solidarity with us. The university administration commiserates with the parents of the deceased.”
On Elvis Paul Abu’s death, whose remains are still in the morgue, the VC said, “on the morning of Sunday, February 5, 2012, the deceased was brought to the university health clinic complaining of severe headache. Information from the family indicated that he had earlier spoken to his father on phone telling him about the headache. The doctor on duty, who is in charge of the health centre, made frantic efforts to stabilise the deceased’s condition. Before he could be referred to another hospital in town, he gave up the ghost.
“Contrary to reports on the incident, it is not true that the generator was switched off. The university generating plant is constantly used without permission from the vice chancellor or any other officer. Besides, the health centre has its standby plant. Giving oxygen to patients did not require power supply, so it is not true that there was power outage and the oxygen stopped. Besides, the health centre has acquired facilities to take care of cases with three qualified and experienced doctors as well as essential drugs, ambulance, water supply and generating set.”
Jaiyeoba further stated that: “the students came out and gathered to show sympathy when they heard of the death of their colleague. Principal officers, staff and I were on ground to appeal to students for calm. In fact, the students were law-abiding and surrounded us to listen carefully. However, while listening, some unknown persons regarded as those who went to drink with the deceased hijacked the situation and began breaking the university’s properties. When the police got to the scene, there was calm.
“The students responded very well and went back to their halls. There were some miscreants who came inside during the disruption. It was only one or two persons who set a paper on fire and dropped it on the carpet inside a block of offices. It was students that drew the attention of the authorities to the fire and rained curses on the perpetrators. The students realising the possible damage, themselves, began a rescue operation to put out the fire and recover some important items before the arrival of the fire-fighting vehicle.”