The University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba (Lagos) was on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, thrown into pensive mood as one of its most promising students was killed when a high tension cable fell on her at the entrance of the campus’ New Hall, according to witnesses.
The young lady was rushed to the institution’s medical centre following the incident where she was pronounced dead. Miss Anekwe was heading to her room in Makama Hostel at New Hall when the incident occurred.
The incident sparked a protest with students shunning both academic and social activities and barring vehicular entry into the school on Wednesday, September 9. Their anger was rooted in the fact that the school authority was not alive to its responsibilities which led to the tragic death of the student.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with a witness who preferred not to be named, “It happened not long after I walked past the entrance of New Hall around 8pm. I suddenly heard a very loud sound from the high tension behind, I turned to see the girl at my back on the ground shaking as the high tension wire fell on her and fire was coming out of the high tension. We rushed her to the medical centre where she was pronounced dead. That high tension has been sparkling for some time and the school authority did not pay attention to it”.
Further, Chisom, a student of the department of English (general department of Actual Science) who also spoke to us said this about the incident: “My proficient knowledge of electrical stuff makes me understand that before something like this could happen, it would give several signs like sparks, which I have witnessed myself twice passing the same spot. The way the cable used to dangle dangerously was quite scary.”
A visibly-aggrieved student, Opeyemi of the Faculty of law said: “It is not just enough for us to boycott class and other social activities, it is equally very important for us to see the need to speak up and chastise all necessary departments. It is important that as we mourn an illustrious student, we must not only groan in our cocoons but come out and have a university-wide procession for the sake of the dead and even the living. What happened to Oluchi could have happened to anybody, a student or any member of the university community and it was as a result of negligence on the part of the university, particularly the Department of Works and Physical Planning. Therefore, it was to my utter dismay to have received a broadcast message signed by the president and speaker of the students’ union this morning (Wednesday) conceding her avoidable death to God. The statement partly read, “The entire University of Lagos students loved her, but God in his wisdom saw fit to embrace her”. This is an aberration, a contempt of God and an insult on the collective intelligence of students. Our problems in this part of the world have been compounded by over-religiosity and being more catholic than the Pope.”
Our correspondent also spoke to the Student Union’s General Secretary, Babalola Olufemi on the incident, his words: “The incident happened around 7pm on Tuesday (September 8). There is this high tension that passes through the New Hall which serves the surrounding communities. There had been complaints to the power company about the sparkling, but no response. The New Hall has about five hostels, and accommodates most of the students which is where she was staying. The wire fell exactly on her at the gate of Newhall, after which she was rushed to the medical centre, where she was pronounced dead. The medical center is the first port of call for emergencies like this.”
Speaking on the student’s identity, he added: “She was a student in the Faculty of Business Administration, specifically in the Department of Accounting, and was in 300 level. Her mates said she was a first class student.”
Reacting to allegations levelled against the union by some students over their response to the incident, he said: “I really don’t understand what they expect the SUG to do. If we had been officially informed about the high tension we would have written to the appropriate authorities.
‘We responded as quickly as we could’
We responded as quickly as we could, we were there when she was rushed to the medical centre. And following the incident, we declared yesterday (Wednesday, September 9) a no-lecture day to mourn her. Also, during our ongoing sports festival, we observed a one-minute silence in her honour. A candle light session was held yesterday as well.”
On where they deposited the body, “She was transferred to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) from the medical centre. And I don’t know if the family have come to pick up the body.”
On the mood among students following the incident, he remarked: “Students are not happy, especially because the high tension doesn’t serve the university, it serves the surrounding communities.”
Our correspondent also spoke with Miss Anekwe’s friends and colleagues, and they had this to say about her…
‘She was preparing for her ICAN exams which will hold on Monday (September 14)’ -OLUWADAMILOLA ONOWHO,
friend of about three years
How have you been coping since your friend passed on?
I have no choice but to accept it. What has happened has happened. Life has to go on, but it’s not been easy. We can’t question God!
How close were you to her?
I knew her like three years ago and we were very close. We are from the same faculty. She used to call me Tiwa because I look like Tiwa Savage, while I call her Yetunde because I didn’t really know how to pronounce her Igbo name at first.
What was the last thing you talked about?
On Monday (a day before the tragic incident), we were joking with her that we are setting up a committee to organise a party and she would be part of it. Of course, we knew she wouldn’t because she was not that kind of a person. She was always a very serious person and very studious. She was preparing for her ICAN exams which will hold on Monday (September 14).
Were you with her when the incident occurred?
No, but I heard what happened. She went from tutorial to church service that evening, then to new hall where I think she came to meet her sister when the incident happened.
What was your reaction when you heard it?
At first, the news spread throughout the school that high tension wire fell on a female student and everyone was trying to find out who it was. When I found out it was Oluchi, I cried so much that I thought my eyes would fall out of the sockets, but God knows best.
What would you miss about her?
Everything. Her character, her presence. So many things, I don’t even know what to say.
How would you describe her?
She was an easy going person, very friendly, nice and loving.
‘I won’t be able to keep a seat for her anymore – OLAMIDE, her friend and colleague
How did you know Oluchi and how close were you both?
We were course mates. Same department, same level. We used to be seat mates.
What kind of a person would you say she was?
She was gentle, friendly, easy going, nice, and she was a giver.
What will you miss now that she’s gone?
I’ll miss everything, all the times we spent together. I won’t be able to keep a seat for her anymore. I won’t be able to sit beside her again, We won’t be able eat Maryland cookies together anymore.