Academic activities at the Novena University, Ogume, Delta State, have been suspended following the destruction of school property by protesting undergraduates of the institution over the death of a female student.
The victim, identified simply as Kelechi, died in a road accident on her way to withdraw money from an Automated Teller Machine in a bank in Abraka.
The accident, which reportedly occurred on the Abraka-Obiaruku/Amai Road on Tuesday, involved a tricycle and a truck loaded with bamboo sticks.
It was gathered that Kelechi, a 300-level student of Public and Community Health Department, was travelling with another female student when she was pierced in the neck by one of the sticks when the accident happened.
She was reportedly rushed to the Novena University Clinic and Obiaruku General Hospital for medical attention but medical doctors on duties said the situation was beyond what they could handle.
She was about to be transferred to the Delta State University Teaching Hospital when she gave up the ghost.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the only bank on the school premises had not been opened since the beginning of the semester, while the bank ATMs had also remained shut until the incident.
A student of the institution, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that it was not the first time students would be involved in an auto crash while going to make withdrawals in the bank at Abraka, another university community which covered a distance drive of over one hour from their school.
It was learnt that the students had complained about the situation to the school authorities without the issue being resolved.
The student said, “The girl was a 300-level PCH student. She was going to Abraka to withdraw money when the accident happened. She died at the General Hospital, Obiaruku, where she was rushed to after our school clinic said they could not handle her situation.
“Since we resumed for this semester, the bank and ATMs on the school premises have not been working. And that is the only bank where we can make withdrawal except we travel to Abraka, which is relatively far from us.”
However, a lecturer at the institution, who confirmed the development to our correspondent, said the school was on Wednesday shut following protests by the students who destroyed facilities belonging to the shut bank and the university.
“When the news of the death of Kelechi filtered into the university, the students were angry with the school management. So, yesterday (Wednesday), they staged a protest and destroyed the ATMs, the bank, medical facilities, classrooms and lecturers’ offices.
“Following the development, the school management decided to suspend academic activities for now”, the lecturer said.
The university management also confirmed the suspension of academic activities in a memo addressed to students on Wednesday.
The memo, which directed students to immediately vacate the university premises, was signed by one Prof. I. O. Okoro.
“In lieu of the existing situation, the management of Novena University has suspended all academic activities indefinitely. By this notice, all students are hereby required to vacate the university campus within 24 hours to enable management to repair damages perpetrated by students during the protest,” the memo read.