Brandishing tree branches and green leaves and with tears flowing down their cheeks, students of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) last Monday protested the death of their colleague, Oladimeji Olu.
Academic activities were grounded at the school’s Ikorodu campus as the students took to the streets over the “poor medical services” in their clinic.
They claimed Oladimeji, an ND1 Computer Engineering student, died because of the lackadaisical attitude of the clinic’s personnel.
CAMPUSLIFE gathered that the late Oladimeji was taken to the medical centre, last Friday, at 9:30am after he took ill, but was transferred to the Ikorodu General Hospital, where he died. The nature of his illness could not be ascertained, but his aggrieved colleagues said the cause of death may have been malaria.
A student said the deceased was left unattended to hours after his admission at the school’s medical centre. Worried by the development, his colleagues complained to the medical personnel on duty, who gave them a referral for him to the General Hospital.
Sodiq Bello, Faculty of Engineering students’ president, who spoke to our correspondent, said he got an urgent call from the Computer Engineering Department’s president, Taiwo Ogundero, that the late Oladimeji was “seriously sick” and had been taken to the medical centre.
“Oladimeji was in serious pain before the doctors started attending to him. When they discovered that it was not a case they could handle anymore, they came back with a referral for the deceased to be transferred to the General Hospital, Ikorodu, where he gave up the ghost on Saturday in the midnight,” Sodiq said.
When the news of Oladimeji’s death reached the campus, his colleagues sent messages to students through the social media to converge on the convocation ground in the morning.
CAMPUSLIFE gathered that scores of students, in a Marcopolo and six 18-seater buses, joined Olanike Olu, the late Oladimeji’s sister, to retrieve his remains from the hospital.
At the hospital, they were told the Oladimeji’s body would not be released to them. The hospital’s reason, CAMPUSLIFE gathered, was hinged on its policy not to issue death certificate to patients brought in less than 48 hours before death.
The students were advised to go to the Ikorodu Local Government to get an affidavit. After obtaining the document, signed by Olanike, the students moved to Igbogbo Police Station in Ikorodu to get a police report, which was attached to the affidavit so as to get the death certificate after paying N5,000 to the council. They later presented the document at the hospital.
Tears flowed freely as the late Oladimeji’s body was brought out of the morgue. His colleagues wailed, with many cursing the institution’s medical personnel. The body was taken to a cemetery at Sabo part of Ikorodu for burial.
After the internment, the students returned to the campus, storming the clinic in protest. In tears, the students chanted: “Oro nla l’eda, eyin t’epa Oladimeji ti e je k’odagba, oro nla l’eda”, which means: “You have brought sorrow to our hearts, you that caused Oladimeji’s death at his prime; it is great sorrow.”
The students requested to see the Medical Director, Dr Ibrahim Abdulraheem, but the workers said he was at a management meeting. The Dean, Students’ Affairs, Mr Nurudeen Sonayan, and his deputy, Mr Adebayo Fapohunda, excused themselves from the meeting to attend to the students. Their presence, however, could not calm the inconsolable crowd, which insisted on seeing the medical director.
When the students got to know that the medical director was in the boardroom, where the meeting was being held, they stormed the place, chanting war songs.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Students’ Union Government (SUG), Iroko When, cautioned the demonstrators not to destroy the school property.
The Rector, Dr Abdulazeez Abioye Lawal, summoned the Speaker of Students’ Representative Council, Sadiq Taiwo and Yomi Usman, a member of the SUG parliament to the boardroom to ascertain what the problem was.
CAMPUSLIFE gathered that the Speaker narrated what transpired at the medical centre. The rector reportedly responded that the issue was part of the discussion at the disrupted meeting.
To calm frayed nerves, Dr Lawal left the meeting to address the aggrieved students. He was joined by other principal officers.
He urged the students to remain calm, saying the state of the medical centre was part of the discussion in the management meeting. He promised that changes would be effected as soon as possible, urging the protesters to return to their hostels.
In an interview, Dr Abdulraheem said the late Oladimeji was attended to by two doctors immediately he was brought in.
“We were able to stabilise him before the arrival of his family. When his sister arrived later, there was need to refer him to Ikorodu General Hospital since the centre is not running on 24-hour basis. We ensured that all facilities were in place to transfer the deceased, who was taken in the school’s ambulance accompanied by his sister and a nurse,” he said.
Abdulraheem said the medical centre did all it could to save the deceased, saying the late Oladimeji may have been seriously affected by the ailment. He advised students to always visit the centre for regular medical check-up, saying: “Don’t wait until you are seriously sick before you remember that there is a place called medical centre on campus.”
Dr Abdulraheem gave his mobile phone number for students to reach him in case of urgent medical attention and poor service at the centre.
Efforts to speak to the management of the Ikorodu General Hospital were futile.
Oladimeji, 21, was a member of the SUG parliament. He is survived by his mother and siblings.
Read more: Nation Newspapers