Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Thursday, said calls for the closure of the institution by the National Association of Nigerian Students were ‘unfortunate and distressful’.
The South-East coordinator of NANS had called for the closure of academic activities of ESUT following the reported death of about five students of the university within two weeks.
NANS had apportioned blames on ESUT authorities for failing to provide adequate medical facilities for the students. NANS therefore called for ESUT shutdown in protest against the deaths.
The dean, Students’ Affairs of the university, Prof Jude Udenta, in a statement, said, “It is unfortunate and distressful that we have been pushed to discuss in public the circumstances of the deaths of our beloved students. Incidentally, the way things are now, with the coordinator, NANS ZONE F, and certain other actors working for our institution to be shut down, we have no other reasonable option than to make the following clarifications available to the public in order for everyone to be properly guided and, therefore, remain calm.
“The last student that reportedly died over the last weekend died as a result of a road mishap in a yet-to-be-confirmed location. He was a piper and instrumentalist and died while returning from his chores.
“It is noteworthy that this latest case was the only one among the deceased that was an on-campus student, the rest are off-campus.
“The case of the two young ESUT students who died somewhere in a lodge in Enugu town is still under investigation. What could we have done to stop that tragedy? Meanwhile, immediately we got the information, we held meetings with our security committee on these matters. We asked them to sensitise all off-campus students about the use of generators and such other possible risk factors.
“We ask: how many families have been lost to the cold hands of death as a result of generator fumes across the states in Nigeria and how many have been shut down? It is a tragedy and we are doing our best to keep our people alive and well.
“About the remaining two cases, still under investigation, they were said to have died of certain undisclosed ailments which they tried to tackle, in town, through self-medication.
“In view of our cosmology, whereby we believe strongly in the influence or effect of the spiritual upon the material, we have reached out to pastors asking for forgiveness and for divine intervention in regard to an end to such tragedies.”
Udenta urged NANS to close ranks with the university management towards finding a lasting solution to the varsity’s current challenges instead of calling for the closure of the university.
In his words, “What we had expected from NANS ZONE F is an appropriate synergy based on consultation and consolation in a time like this, not a declaration of shutdown.
“Finally, while we mourn our dead and continue to seek divine assistance, we ask our dearly beloved students to get ready for our Cultural Week and subsequently, our final and second semester exams. We ask our students to stand strong in defence of ESUT. We shall not be distracted!”