BY: MAHMUD ABDULSALAM
THE game was going on fine until a player slumped. The player’s collapse ended the game as his colleagues rushed him to the clinic. And there, trouble started. The clinic declined to treat the unconscious Emmanuel Olalekan, who was a 300-level Chemistry Education student of the Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUT MINNA) in Niger State, insisting on his “proper identification” first.
Emmanuel died and his colleagues went on the rampage, destroying properties. It was a black Wednesday for FUT MINNA.
The late Emmanuel usually joined his colleagues to play football after lectures. But the routine exercise turned fatal when he collapsed, following a “rough tackle”.
The incident happened at 5:30pm last Wednesday at the Bosso Campus football pitch, where students usually converged for sports.
At the clinic, it was alleged that the medical staff did nothing to resuscitate the late Emmanuel despite his colleagues’ plea.
The student died three hours after he got to the clinic. His colleagues accused the staff of negligence and insensitivity, saying their dithering led to his death. He was pronounced dead at 8:30pm.
Emmanuel’s death provoked violence. Some buildings, including the clinic, were torched and properties vandalised.
Vehicles’ windshields and offices’ louvres were smashed.
Sections of the dining hall, the library and a microfinance bank were vandalised. A car said to belong to the Dean, Students’ Affairs was smashed. Windows and louvres of the Geography Laboratory and female hostels were shattered. The rioters were said to have carted away bread from the bakery.
A student, who simply gave his name as Abiodun, described how Emmanuel died. He said the deceased slumped after a “rough tackle” during the match. “He hit his head on the ground and held his chest as he fell,” Abiodun said.
The eyewitness added that the late Emmanuel was rushed to the clinic in a coma.
“To our surprise, the medical personnel at the clinic refused to attend to him hours after we rushed him to the clinic. They requested for his identity card, which was not with him at that time. We pleaded that he should be resuscitated while some of us went to look for his ID card, nobody answered us. After they verified from their records and discovered he was a student, they made attempt to revive him. But, it was late,” Abiodun said.
Another student, Prince Adeolu, who was on the field when the late Emmanuel slumped, blamed the clinic staff for his death.
He said: “It is unprofessional for medical practitioners to ask an unconscious patient to present his ID card before he could be given medical attention.”
When the protest spread, the school’s security officials moved female students to the Central Mosque and Chapel, which were secured by armed personnel. Some students fled the campus out of fear.
Normalcy returned after a combined team of soldiers and policemen was deployed in the campus. The presence of armed security operatives made it easy for fire fighters from the Niger State Fire Service to move into the campus to put out the clinic fire.
The Niger State Police Command said three suspects were arrested in connection with the violence, but their identities remained unknown at press time. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bala Elkana, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the arrest, saying: “The police have brought the situation under control and we have three suspected arsonists in custody. Already, the Command has commenced investigation into the arson.”
The following day, management held an emergency meeting to take stock of the destruction. The school said it regretted the incident and shut the campus till March 2. Management said it had set up a panel to probe the student’s death.
A statement signed on behalf of the Registrar by the Acting Academic Secretary, Dr Shakirudeen Yusuf, reads: “The management has approved a two weeks mid-semester break with immediate effect. Consequently, all students are to vacate the two campuses latest by 4pm on Thursday, February 16. Academic activities resume on March 2.”
CAMPUSLIFE could not reach the Director of Health Services, but a worker in the clinic, who did not want her name in print, denied the students’claims of negligence and insensitivity.
She said: “As professional healthcare givers, there is no way the staff on duty would have violated the sacred ethics and oaths of medical practice. In what ways would it profit them to deny a student proper treatment or medical attention?”
A student, Mukhtar Sani, said the allegation of negligence and insensitivity against the medical personnel was true. He shared his experience at the clinic.
He said: “I went for treatment at the clinic, because I did not have money to leave the school. I had high temperature and was shivering terribly. When I got to the clinic, I explained my situation to nurses on duty. To my surprise, they told me to wait for the doctor who did not come. When I complained, they said I should come back the following day.”
CAMPUSLIFE gathered that the first semester examination was scheduled to start in three weeks, before the protest. The closure of the school was greeted with mixed feelings among students. Some described it as unnecessary; others hailed management’s decision.
Amina Shamsudeen, a final year student, said it was better the school is shut to prevent further breakdown of law and order. She appealed to management to fulfil its promise to re-open the school in two weeks to enable students write their examinations.
The Students’Union Government (SUG) called for calm, urging students to leave the campus as directed by the management. The SUG President, Lateef Hamzat, described the late Emmanuel as a “lovable student” and “skilful footballer”.
Ola Yusuf, the late Emmanuel’s close friend, described him as “a talented young man”, saying he was charming and peace-loving.
Ola said: “Emmanuel was caring and humble. He was also serious-minded and peace-loving. I knew him to be a hardworking student and talented young man who loved football. He was a devoted Christian. I have not overcome the shock since he died.”
CAMPUSLIFE gathered that Emmanuel’s body has been taken to his home town in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State for burial.
Source: The Nation