Grieving Ogun Varsity Students Vent Anger, Attack Company of Truck Which Killed Eleven of Their Colleagues
Grieving Ogun Varsity Students Vent Anger, Attack Company of Truck Involved in Accident That Killed Eleven of Their Colleagues
By AfricanOutlook Reporter
Hundreds of grieving Olabisi Onabanjo University, (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, students on Monday took out their frustration in an attack on the premises of a plastic manufacturing company (name withheld), the suspected owners of the raw materials being conveyed by the truck, which caused Friday's accident in which eleven of their colleagues died.
The protesting students
The aggrieved students dressed in black with placards bearing various inscriptions vandalized a number trucks already loaded with finished products, awaiting transportation to the market, a protest said to be in response to the deaths of their colleagues.
They had earlier converged at Sagamu-Benin Expressway scene of last Friday's fatal auto crash and barricaded the road for over three hours, a development which forced many motorists to make a detour, to other routes in a bid to avoid confrontation with the irate students.
Earlier at the scene of the crash, the students forming a ring, as they held hands, held a prayer session and observed a minute silence for the repose of the souls of their dead colleagues. The prayer session was conducted in boththe Christian and Muslim modes of worship.
Our correspondent reports further that, some of the placards read, "We Demand Justice for the Lost Souls," OOU Mourns, OOU Weeps, OOU Cries," "A Future Lawyer is Gone!," "Fresh Graduate Gone!," "We've Lost Our Scientists," "OOUITES Are Not Chickens. Stop Giving us Phobia," "Police, FRSC, TRACE Must Be Probed."
AfricanOutlookonline reporter also learnt at the scene that, the protesters forced open the fallen container, which they discovered contained drums of chemicals, while at the company premises they, also vandalized some of the offices and buildings, breaking window glasses and panes, while many of the workers scampered into hiding to escape the students' wrath.
On arrival at the gate to the company's premises, the protesters over-powered the gate men and forced their way into the premises and vandalized some of its buildings, while many of the workers scampered into hiding to escape the students' wrath.
Speaking to newsmen President of the Students' Union Government, Adenola Adegbesan called on government to compensate families of the deceased but why noting that no amount of money could compensate for the lives of the victims, he said it would give succour to their depressed relatives and also called on the state government to assist the victims' families in the burial of their dead colleagues.
The protesting students however issued a seven-day ultimatum to the police and the owners of the truck involved in the accident to produce the driver who fled the scene after the tragedy.
His words “As I am speaking with you, I have not received any correspondence from the truck owners not even to commiserate with us for the lives lost. Such acts of recklessness cannot be condoned on our roads and we demand that the fleeing driver be remanded and prosecuted.
It will serve as a deterrent to other motorists who fail to obey traffic rules, especially drivers of heavy duty vehicles who drive without regard for other road users”
The Students Union President also advised government to regulate the movement of trucks on the highways by restricting their operations to the night times only.
"I would like government to look into how they can reduce the number of heavy duty vehicles on the highways. The sheer number of trucks on the roads these days is alarming and they are always a disaster waiting to happen due to the drivers’ recklessness,” Adegbesan said.
In his own reaction, the University Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr Niyi Oduwole has described the accident as unfortunate and sad, disclosing that in order to commiserate with the students mourning their deceased colleagues, the institution has declared Monday and Tuesday lecture-free.
"We at OOU deeply sympathize with the parents and relatives of the deceased over the untimely deaths of their wards. The management has decided to postpone exams today and tomorrow to honour their souls while we have concluded arrangements to visit the families involved.
"We admonish all road users to always obey traffic rules and follow road signs so that such occurrences like these would be averted,” he said.