•300-level undergraduate too
By Dayo Johnson, Akure
To conclude that the death of three final year and a 300- level students of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA, Ondo State in an auto crash was sad and painful is an understatement.
No word is too big to describe the agony of the parents and family members of the students who had gone far in their education.
The parents have however taken solace in the Christianity admonition: “ In all things we should give thanks”.
It was crying and wailing penultimate Saturday when the news of the death of the students filtered into campus.
The tension in the university was so high that everyone wore a long face. The atmosphere was sombre and a visitor to the institution would easily decipher that something tragic had happened.
Students gathered in groups to pray and cry in the open field and lecture theatres while lecturers and other university workers discussed the ugly incident in hush voices. Traffic inside the university was thin.
For three days,the university community mourned the four students whose lives were cut short in the auto crash.
Lectures were suspended.
That Saturday was indeed a black day in FUTA as lecturers and students cried and wailed openly.
The 500-level students who died in the crash include Olaleye Israel Olumide -mathematics and statistics, Owadayo Funke-microbiology, Abolarinwa Olaniyi-electrical and electronics engineering while Oke Oluwatosin was a 300-level student of electrical and electronics engineering.
A source hinted Sunday Vanguard that the students, under the umbrella of the Campus Christian Outreach Programme, were returning from a mission conference tagged, “PAROUSIA” in Ibadan, Oyo State when the unfortunate incident happened.
Fifteen students went for the conference in the FUTA campus fellowship bus. Thirteen of them are students of the university and members of different campus fellowships while the Coordinator of PAROUSIA for Akure Zone and another student of the University of Benin, Edo State accompanied the bus on the religious journey which claimed the lives of four of them and left 11 others maimed with serious injuries.
It was gathered that one of the students was driving the bus when the accident happened few kilometers back to FUTA. The crash, according to eyewitness account, occurred along the Ilesha-Akure Expressway. Report had it that the bus conveying the students, on getting to Ibulesoro town in Ifedore council area of the state, skidded off the expressway after a motorcyclist recklessly crossed the road.
The driver , who was trying to maneuver the bus in order not to crush the motorcyclist, lost control and crashed.
The bus reportedly somersaulted several times before it finally stopped.
The four deceased students, it was learnt, died on the spot while 11 survivors were rushed to hospital for medical attention.
They were admitted at Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Akure where they were rushed to by sympathizers.
The FUTA Students Union President Segun Oladele told Sunday Vanguard that the parents of the deceased students had been informed and already claimed the corpses.
Oladele added that some of those injured had been discharged from hospital.
A three-day of mourning according to him had been declared in the university which will be lecture free.
He noted that a candle night processing was equally held in FUTA in honor of the departed souls .
Ondo State Police Command spokesman, Femi Joseph, said officers from the command and those of the Federal Road Safety Commission responded swiftly to the accident and rushed those injured to hospital.
Officials of the FRSC in the state attributed the accident to over-speeding and loss of concentration on the part of the students vehicle involved.
The Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr Adegbenro Adebanjo, said the students were on a private religious trip when the accident happened.
Adegbenro noted that the management of FUTA was doing all it could to give those in the hospital the best treatment. He confirmed that the parents of those who died in the crash have since claimed their corpses
He commiserated with the families of the deceased students and their colleagues.