After eight years of academic sojourn at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, the parents of Benard Asefon and his siblings expected him to return home before embarking on the mandatory one-year National Youth Service scheme. But sadly, that expectation was cut short in a cruel manner. Death took away Ashefon.
The late student, who studied Animal Nutrition and Biotechnology, was said to have died after an electric pole fell on a septic tank that caved in and sank into the pit.
Some of his colleagues told the PUNCH correspondent that the deceased climbed a ladder to change his hostel’s switch on a nearby electric pole. The changeover switch at the hostel where he had lived for eight years was said to be faulty and he decided to rectify it for the occupants to enjoy electricity.
One of the students who lived near the hospital and spoke on condition of anonymity said,” I heard that he lived in the hostel since his pre-degree programme days. There was an electricity supply in the area but the hostel was in darkness.
He thus decided to climb the pole to change the switch for them to have electricity. He had changed the power source and I heard that he jumped down from the pole. I don’t know what made him jump down, maybe the ladder shifted and he jumped off in order not to fall. But he landed on a septic tank beside the fence, the cover broke and he fell inside.
“The thing is that nobody immediately saw what happened to him. It was after a while that some people knew what happened to him. How to pull him out of the pit became difficult.
They placed a ladder inside the tank but he was said to have been too weak to climb and come out. Somebody later went inside and brought him out and he was taken to the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital. They said he was not attended to at the hospital and that was why students went on the rampage the following day.”
The Registrar of the university, Dr Kayode Ogunleye, in a statement announcing the death, said that the student didn’t die on campus contrary to the belief in some quarters.
He said, “It has just come to the notice of the university management that a 500-level graduating student of the Department of Animal Nutrition and Biotechnology Asefon Nifemi Benard, died off-campus yesterday, April 22, 2021.
“In sympathy with the student, friends, and family, the university management hereby declared today, Friday, April 23, 2021, as lecture free-day, while any lectures or tests that might have been conducted earlier today will be declared null and void.
“Management further appeals to students not to take laws into their hands. Appropriate steps will be taken to further get the facts surrounding the death of the students. Once again, management commiserates with the students, family, and friends of the deceased. Meanwhile, the university administration has taken steps to take care of the burial of the deceased and convey his corpse to the family.”
Speaking with newsmen, the late student’s father, Mayomi, said he was unaware of what happened to his son when he received a telephone call from the Chaplain of St. Thomas More Catholic Chaplaincy, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, Rev. Fr. Joseph Ogundipe. The cleric delivered the devastating message to the father.
it was learned that the news left him brokenhearted and he sobbed uncontrollably. Members of his family also became inconsolable when the news was broken to them.
The father later summoned the courage to have his son’s corpse brought home for burial when the cleric condoled with the family. Pained by the alleged negligence and indifference displayed by the doctor on duty the day he was taken to the hospital, the late student’s colleagues protested on the streets of Ogbomoso and later went to the teaching hospital where they vandalized vehicles parked on the premises.
The doctor on duty the day the late student was rushed to the hospital reportedly asked for the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Hashim Ige. He allegedly told the students who brought the student to the Accident and Emergency Unit that there was no oxygen. Our correspondent gathered that he was later rushed to the Bowen University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso. Though it was too late by the time he was taken there, the way he was attended to was said to have pleased the angry students. They later dropped his corpse there having realised he was dead and mobilised to the campus.
Though the school management declared a lecture-free day to mourn the student, the students were not assuaged and thus vandalised the university’s clinic before security agents moved in to restore peace. Colleagues, church members, and clerics were in attendance the day the remains of the student were interred.
The grieving father told newsmen that though the death caused him great pain, he was proud of his son because he did not bring shame to the family. He said as a Catholic, he had accepted his fate and would not question his creator because the “the Lord giveth and He taketh.’’