Protest as poly stu­dent drowns in Bayelsa

The Punch - - NEWS - Si­mon Ute­bor, Ye­nagoa

As­tu­dent of Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion at the Fed­eral Polytech­nic, Ekowe,bayelsa State, iden­ti­fied sim­ply as Ade, has drowned in a river close to the in­sti­tu­tion.

Ade re­port­edly drowned in the river bor­der­ing the polytech­nic on Sun­day while try­ing to fetch wa­ter for do­mes­tic use due to lack of wa­ter on the cam­pus.

As a re­sult of Ade’s death, ag­grieved stu­dents of the in­sti­tu­tion went on the ram­page, protest­ing against ab­sence of potable wa­ter and al­leged ne­glect by the school au­thor­i­ties.

It was learnt that lack of potable wa­ter on the cam­pus forced stu­dents to rely on the river and other un­con­ven­tional means for wa­ter.

Tragedy was said to have struck when Ade and an un­named friend went to the river to fetch wa­ter.

A source said Ade fell into the river and drowned be­cause he could not swim.

“The two of them could not swim. So, when Ade fell into the river, all his friend could do was to raise the alarm. Be­fore peo­ple could get to him, he had breathed his last,” the source said.

It was learnt that the sit­u­a­tion was wors­ened by lack of pres­ence of the school man­age­ment on the cam­pus lo­cated in Ekowe, in the South­ern Ijaw Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of the state.

The Rec­tor of the polytech­nic, Timi Seiyaboh, and staff mem­bers of the school, re­port­edly op­er­ated from the li­ai­son of­fice in Ye­nagoa, the state cap­i­tal.

The protest­ing stu­dents al­leged that all at­tempts to call the at­ten­tion of Seiyaboh to the in­ci­dent proved abortive.

It was gath­ered that a team of po­lice op­er­a­tives was sent to the school to avert break­down of law and or­der.

A hu­man rights ac­tivist, Alagoa Mor­ris, faulted the school man­age­ment on its han­dling of the mat­ter.

Mor­ris said, “It is in­ter­est­ing to hear that the po­lice ar­rived on the cam­pus which is sit­u­ated along the River Nun, while the au­thor­i­ties of the in­sti­tu­tion re­mained in Ye­nagoa and in­vited the stu­dents to come to meet them.

“Even if the trans­port fares of the stu­dents will be borne by the school au­thor­i­ties, it is un­ac­cept­able. The school should not be man­aged from Ye­nagoa.

“The rec­tor and other man­age­ment staff have to go down to Ekowe and jus­tify their pay and en­gage­ment by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.”

When con­tacted, Seiyaboh said he was on the ground to han­dle the is­sues on the cam­pus.

He de­nied al­le­ga­tions that he was man­ag­ing the school from Ye­nagoa.

“I am al­ways on the ground and I have been here to han­dle the prob­lem. There was no time I asked the stu­dents to come to meet me in Ye­nagoa,” he said.

Photo: File

• Fed­eral Polytech­nic, Ekowe

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