How flood killed 4 ATBU students -Anyigbaleft

A collapsed bridge linking the hostels and the lecture halls at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi yesterday, where four students...

A collapsed bridge linking the hostels and the lecture halls at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi yesterday, where four students died on Monday.

Varsity shut as search continues for missing persons

Four students of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) in Bauchi have died and seven others injured following the collapse of a bridge in the institution as a result of a heavy downpour that lasted several hours.

Already a search and rescue operation has commenced for missing persons, even as the management shut down the institution over the disaster.

The Vice Chancellor of the University Professor Mohammed Ahmed Abdulazeez, who briefed journalists yesterday, said the incident happened on Monday night at the Gubi campus of the institution. He said the dead students included “three males and one female for now, and they are in the department of management sciences and the other one in the mortuary business education.

“For now, we have learnt that the incident occurred while the students were trying to return to their hostel in the midst of the rain last night. The connecting bridge between their reading area and their hostel collapsed. Two students were drowned, and I learnt that additional two also died. Others who were injured in the accident are currently receiving treatment at the university’s medical centre,” he said.

Why we shut down institution – VC Professor 

Abdulazeez also informed that “While the full details of the occurrence are being awaited, the University senate, at an emergency meeting this morning August 6, 2019 decided to close the University in honour of the students, the reopening date has been fixed for Tuesday 19, 2019”.

“We want to close down the whole school because we are mourning, so no part will be mourning and other parts are working, we felt that the mourning should include remedial students and postgraduate students. We need two weeks to repair the collapsed bridge. Even now I met one of the contractors who promised the bridge will be repaired in a week,” he said.

He however said that because of the unrest by some students, who tried to block some people from going in to the university, the work will start “God’s willing by tomorrow” to construct the bridge. The vice chancellor commiserated with families of the deceased and prayed that Allah grants the souls of the departed eternal rest. He also prayed to Allah to console the entire community of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University on the “unfortunate development.”

On the issue of missing students, he said “We cannot tentatively say the total number. For now so we are in contact with the state government, we know the stream is long and far, so we have some of our men looking from the tail end coming back and it will take them long time before they will come back to where the incident started. And what they are doing is just to try to find the missing students if any”.

When asked why the university authorities didn’t repair the bridge, he blamed it on the paucity of funds. He said “The bridge is for 10 students to cross over at a time, we have alternative road but it is far. That’s the problem but the bridge is closer; it’s a short way of moving from the academic area to students Hostel. “When it happened today I was there to see what happened and when we saw it we swung in to action,” he added.

Professsor Abdulazees recalled that in June last year, the ATBU was the worst hit by the windstorm disaster in the state. “We are trying to repair a lot of places, the university is trying to repair some of the basic things first where we students will stay, the lecture rooms, hostels, library, the classroom and so on and so forth.” He said “we wrote a lot of letters to donor agencies these are things sometimes that the government alone cannot do, we are still calling on the philanthropist to come to our aid.”

Students embark on protest 

A witness said the incident happened between 11:30 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. On Tuesday morning, angry students of the university at Gubi Campus where the incident occurred staged a protest against the management over their inability to repair the bridge which led to the death of their colleagues.

The protesting students also blamed the collapse of the bridge on negligence by the institution’s authorities. They gathered at the school gate to express their anger with the school authority. One of the students said his roommate was among those who were returning from library to hostel when the iron bridge collapsed, adding that after the incident they recovered textbooks, wrappers and some of them are still missing.

Some of the management staff said the pedestrian bridge was constructed in 2010 to carry between 10 to 15 students at a time but because of rain between 20 and 40 students tried using the bridge at the same time. He said the management put solar light on the road to the bridge but it was vandalized by miscreants. He said very soon the Federal Government will install solar light in all the universities including ATBU Bauchi to help security and safety of students in the institution.

Police Public Relations Officer DSP Kamal Datti Abubakar said “Policemen were deployed to maintain law and order. The protest was brought under control. But since the incident happened inside the campus, the university authorities are in the best position to give you the details.”




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ANYIGBALEFT: How flood killed 4 ATBU students -Anyigbaleft
How flood killed 4 ATBU students -Anyigbaleft
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