Drowned student was rescued twice, rector claims
Embattled Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ekowe, Bayelsa State, Dr. Seiyaboh Idah, has narrated how Stephen Adekunle, the student who drowned last week in a river near the school, had allegedly been rescued at least on two occasions by his colleagues.
Idah, who spoke with newsmen on the row surrounding the death of the student, noted that Adekunle was not looking for water to bath as wrongly reported. He said the deceased had a knack for consistently visiting the river even when he had no swimming skills.
While commiserating with relatives of the deceased, the Rector said about two days before he died, the Dean of Student Affairs had also spotted Adekunle on the same spot and warned him to keep away from the river because of the depth.
“Students are told, ‘don’t go to the river’, but they still go there. Don’t go to the river to swim. We have lecturers living there. Why don’t they go to the river to bath? They bath in the school. Why is it only students always going there?
“During orientation we told them ‘don’t go near the river’. They wont listen to you. This same student that died, on Friday, the Dean of Student Affairs met him bathing in the same river and he didn’t know how to swim. He will hold one pole and think it’s a joke.
“The man told him don’t do it again and he refused. This same guy has been rescued twice because he won’t leave the river. They didn’t go there to fetch any water. They went there to swim. We have been shouting but they refused.
“One of the students said the deceased had almost drowned many times, he was the one that rescued him. This time they could not save him. You don’t learn to swim in the ocean, it is too deep. He didn’t die because there was no light, no water”, the Rector said.
He flayed those whom he accused of wanting to politicise the student’s death, claiming that some persons were paying the students to protest and go from one media house to the other, to tarnish the image of the school.
“We have been trying to stabilise the school and for the almost one and a half years we have spent, we have made progress. I don’t see why anybody should be using our misfortune to fight us. They said the Rector asked the students to come to Yenagoa. That never happened. I was the one who brought the body to the mortuary. I paid the bills and I went to Ekowe to meet the students. Some people said students were detained. It is crazy,” he said.
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