Education

Govt., Management React as AAUA Students Storm highway, Protest Over Killing of Schoolmates by Trailers

Friday Omosola/Ondo

Students of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State have trooped out in their numbers today to express their grievances over the incessant killing of students by heavy trucks on the community highway.

Students at the scene of the protest were seen carrying placards with different inscriptions, demanding justice and putting a stop to heavy trucks plying Akungba, the host community of the institution.

The Trumpet gathered that since the students returned to campus on the 31st of January, 2022 for the continuation of first semester examination, road accidents had been the order of the day.

One of the accidents that triggered the massive turn out of students occurred at late hour on Thursday and claimed life of an alumni of the institution.

Addressing the situation, the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Professor Olugbenga Ige said the management had condemned the incessant accidents since 2020 and made several efforts to put an end to the situation.

Ige said the road is too narrow for thousands of heavy trucks to be plying because the community is overpopulated with students

“Yesterday when the students union president informed me about the accident that involved one of our alumni, I immediately directed the registrar to release a circular for the postponement of today’s examination until further notice,” he said.

Ige stressed that the management has got in touch with the state government under the leadership of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and permanent barricades will be erected by the state government.

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He, however, expressed dissatisfaction over opening of the barricade for trailers to pass by some suspected indigenes who collect money from the trucks.

Speaking, the students union president, Comrade Ogunsanmi Kolade known as Multiple affirmed that no vehicles will be allowed to move throughout today.

“Our agitation is that we do not want trailers to ply this road again. We are here to study and not to meet untimely death and only the messenger can be killed and not the message,” he said.

He said the union had written several letters in respect to the incessant accident to the concerned authorities, yet nothing was done. Adding that the state government is aware and until something is done, the union will not rest.

However, he let out that another barricade will be erected at the school main gate to support the earlier erected barricade to prevent the incessant accidents.

More so, he sent a condolence message to the family of Akinniyi Michael, an alumni and a cell phone repairer who lost his life to yesterday’s accident.

In the same vein, the former student union president, Comrade Obagunwa Oluwasegun known as Supreme bemoaned about the incessant accident despite erection of barricade.

“During my administration, we erected a barricade in conjunction with community leaders to stop the menace, but it saddened my heart that some people open it for trucks mainly to make money.

“The government keeps posting to us that they will dualize the road and up till this moment there is nothing to show for it, but now, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has directed the permanent erection of barricades to stop the killing,” he stated.

Akeredolu Sympathizes With Victims’ families, Orders Strict Compliance of Mounted Barricade

Reacting to the agitation of the students, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu,SAN, said he received the news of the accident which claimed the lives of residents including students, with a heavy heart.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, the governor said the incident was not expected given the steps that had been taken to forestall such occurrence after the incessant accidents that have claimed indigenes and students lives in the past.

In clear terms, Governor Akeredolu ordered that a barricade be mounted at the troubled portion of the road to prevent heavy duty trucks from plying that route.

The Governor, while commiserating with the people of Akungba Akoko as well as the family of the victims, expressed disappointment over people’s penchant for money over lives.

“It is disheartening that some people have turned the barricade mounted by the government to prevent these heavy trucks from plying the road, into a money-making venture. If people truly value lives, and understand that whatever money you made at the expense of people’s lives is blood money. This particular incident was highly avoidable.

“On several occasions, I have visited Akungba Akoko on the heels of incessant accidents. As part of our temporary solution to the situation, a barricade was mounted. It was expected that no heavy duty vehicle would ply that road again. However, we have received reports that some residents of the town open this barricade for heavy duty trucks to pass for a token.” the Governor regretted.

The Governor, therefore, warned all community leaders, youth leaders or representatives, and other residents of the town to immediately desist from the unwholesome act of flaunting the Governor’s directive by opening this barricade for articulated trucks.

Governor Akeredolu said the government will henceforth deploy armed security personnel to man the barricade and deal decisively with anyone found opening the barricade for articulated trucks.

He assured that construction of the bad portion of the road will commence in no time as the design for the road is ready.

He said the road which is a federal road, shall not impair his determination to save lives

Governor Akeredolu expressed concern over the needless death of the residents, especially students whose dreams and aspirations have been cut short in their prime.

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