The Governor Peter Mbah-led Enugu State Government on Friday sent some officials to visit the state’s University of Science and Technology (ESUT) over a strange illness that broke out in the school and reportedly killed 13 students in less than a month.
The team led by the state Commissioner of Health, Dr Ikechukwu Obi, visited the Agbani campus of the institution on Friday to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the alleged development.
It was gathered that the outbreak of the strange illness had generated tension and anxiety among students and staff of the university, PUNCH reports.
Reverend Godwin Onah, a member of staff of the university, reportedly described the situation in the university as alarming and called on the government for an urgent intervention.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) made the call to the state government for urgent intervention in the university in a statement signed by its Zonal Coordinator, Chidi Nzekwe, on Thursday.
In the statement titled “Call to shut down Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) immediately,” NANS warned that it would not stand idly by while the lives and welfare of its students are endangered.
The students association said, “The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students NANS Zone F-Southeast expresses our deepest concern and utmost dismay over the frequent and tragic deaths of our students in ESUT.
“Our investigations have shown a high level of negligence on the part of the school administration, ranging from non-functional student clinic, which is a major factor for the unfortunate death of our students.
“In the light of these disturbing findings, the leadership of NANS Zone F has decided to order the immediate shutdown of the institution from tomorrow, August 24, 2023, till further notice.
“This action is necessary to allow us to engage in extensive meetings with relevant stakeholders including the university management, medical experts, security agencies, and student representatives.
“Failure to shut down the institution with immediate effect, we will be compelled to escalate our actions and the university management should get ready to contend with the armless battalion of Nigerian students in the zone.
“The leadership of NANS Zone F is committed to protecting the rights and welfare of Nigerian students. We will not stand idly while the lives and welfare of our students are endangered. As we seek a quick intervention to this crisis, we urge all our students in ESUT to return to their respective homes where they will be safe till further notice.
“May the souls of our dear departed students Rest in peace.”
However, the management of the university downplayed the situation in the school as the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr Ikechukwu Ezianioma, reportedly described reports of the development in the school as fake, insisting that there was no strange Illness in ESUT.
Ezianioma said that “The Commissioners of Health, Education and Secretary to the State Government, with a whole lot of other government officials came to the university today and after check, they discovered that the reports circulating were false.
“So, I would advise you to contact the commissioner of health and he will be in a better position to tell you whether there is such or not. All I can tell you now is that there is no strange Illness killing students in ESUT.”
At the time of filing this report, the state Commissioner of Health has not made an official statement on the issue as he was said to still be in a marathon meeting after he left the university campus.