Our attention has been drawn to a newspaper report, with a major headline “Panic as mysterious deaths hit KWASU.” The report, published by an Ilorin-based medium, National Pilot Newspaper, is not only misleading but treacherously mischievous, as it attempts to create unnecessary tension among students, staff and parents, for unknown reasons. For the avoidance of doubt, Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, does not take the welfare, safety and security of its staff and students with kid’s glove. This is evident in the prevailing peace and tranquility on our campus and in the host community.
Death is inevitable, as every soul shall return to its Creator at the appointed time by natural or accidental means. It is therefore, out of place for any socially responsible newspaper to link the deaths of some of our students to mysterious circumstances or to create a wrong impression that the University is responsible for such incidents or that some fetish acts are at play as it indicates in some purported acts of propitiation it gleefully published on its pages. This is an outrageous representation of journalism at this age, particularly from a medium such as Pilot. The tales as woven by Pilot was therefore, for malicious intent and could have been sponsored by some enemies of progress.
To put the record straight, one of the students which the newspaper claimed died mysteriously was Linda Lilian Lawal, a 400 level student of the Department of Mass Communication. She died in her parents’ quarters on Friday, October 14, 2016, of complications resulting from brain injury she sustained during a car accident about a year ago outside of the university environment. Linda was to have undergone brain surgery but for some reasons it could not be done and she several times suffered convulsion, a repeat of which claimed her life on October 14.
Also, the newspaper claimed that “a sickle cell patient was left unattended to by the medical personnel, reason; he could not produce his hospital card.” This is indeed far from the truth. The said student was brought chronically ill to the University clinic on Sunday night, September 11, 2016. Even though he did not register with the clinic and was abandoned by his colleagues on getting to the health facility, it is against medical practice to abandon such a patient at that critical moment. So, our doctor and nurses tried all they could to save his life but when his condition got deteriorated, he was rushed to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), in a KWASU ambulance. He was not left alone in the ambulance, as the doctor on call was there to give him the best attention before getting to the hospital. Despite the fact that the UITH was on strike at that time, the Consultant Doctor in charge of the Emergency section of the hospital was called by our medical officials and he came over to save the situation that night. However, in spite of all efforts by doctors, we eventually lost the boy. But can such death be called “mysterious” as insinuated by the newspaper, particularly for a sickle cell patient? This malicious insinuation is to what end, we are forced to ask ourselves.
We believe every student and staff of our University deserve best medical attention when the need arises. That is why the University Health Services is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and qualified medical personnel at all levels. The clinic provides 24/7 services and enjoys sound working relationship with the State Specialist Hospital, Alagbado and the UITH. That is why our medical team usually wastes no time to refer critical cases to the two hospitals.
Again, Provost of the Skyboss Security Services, a private security company engaged by the University, recently had an incident in the line of duty. He was rushed to the school clinic and our medical personnel referred him to the State Specialist Hospital, Alagbado, after trying their best to save his life. He was conveyed to the Special Hospital in our well-equipped ambulance supported by the medical personnel. Unfortunately, he was pronounced dead at the hospital. But can this also be called “mysterious”, bearing in mind that death can come at anytime and under any circumstances? People die even in their sleep or for simply hurting a toe or even a finger.
As a matter of fact, the two were the only deaths recorded after referral by the University Health Services this year and in out of campus environment. We believe such incidents are not peculiar to our Institution, as we strive to maintain international best practices in our day-to-day activities.
The newspaper also cited the death of a female student in an auto accident on her way from Kano to Kaduna (away from the university’s area of jurisdiction), as mysterious. In fact, we view this claim as a height of professional gaffe and lack of clear understanding of how a fast-growing University such as ours operates.
We would also like to clarify the issue of a missing student alluded to in the newspaper report. The Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Funsho Alabi, had made it abundantly clear that the female student did not report on campus after leaving her Lagos residence. Even at that, he stated that the University is working round the clock with security agencies to locate her whereabouts. The Dean gave the clarification at the behest of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, during his interactive session with the College of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences, on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. This further underscores the fact that KWASU pays maximum attention to the welfare, security and safety of its students and staff.
Aside the University Safety personnel who work tirelessly to maintain law and order, we also enjoy the services of Private Security guards like Skyboss, the Police and the State Security Service within and outside our campus. We hold regular meetings with our immediate and surrounding communities to enhance peaceful co-existence. Currently, we are developing what we call “Parents’ Portal” to enable parents and guardians to have direct access to our portal and monitor the progress of their children and wards.
At this juncture, the University Management wishes to reassure parents and guardians of its total commitment to the welfare, safety and security of their children and wards. We will stop at nothing to protect them and give them the best education to become great citizens of our country, Nigeria. To do this effectively, we enjoin parents and guardians and lovers of KWASU to watch out for the antics of enemies who may use the unsuspecting media to spread spurious information to spread unnecessary panic.
The University Management also wishes to urge the media to be on their guard against evil minded who merchant incredible tales to discredit others, and also avoid sensational reports capable of misleading the public and causing social unrest.
For: Director, Office of the University Relations