Death is inevitable and a necessary end. Either old or young, rich or poor, strong or weak; every individual has a date with the grim reaper and how we would leave the world is tied with destiny. But it darkens soul when young and beautiful ones exit the world as a result of sad occurences that could be avoided.
We’ve lost many promising young people to the cold hands of death. Most died in questionable situations. It is sad that we now have a long list of people who should not have died, anxiously awaiting justice than people who died naturally. Heritage Ajibola, a fresh student of Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State who died hours after falling into soakaway is no different.
Recently, Obafemi Awolowo University has witnessed a lot of sad situations. Tragedy is not alien to one of the oldest institutions in the country. From ritual killings to kidnapping to rape to criminal negligence, there is no template of these tragedies the students of this institution have not gone through.
Top officials of the university are not only careless with students lives meant to be secured but only mourn losses, keep mute and watch helplessly till another sad event unfolds. Like the deafening silence of the management over the ongoing court case of murder of Timothy Adegoke, OAU MBA student, the management has also reacted to the demise of Heritage Ajibola and it ends there. It is against the tradition of OAU to pursue justice.
Heritage Ajibola is dead. She did not die because she dated a yahoo boy. She was not used for rituals. She did not abuse hard drugs. She did not die because she aborted pregnancy. Like a 17-year-old Sofiyat who was beheaded for rituals by teenagers, she was also a victim of criminal negligence.
Heritage passed her WASSCE, scored well in JAMB, performed well in POST-UTME and was admitted into the department of Linguistics and African languages, Obafemi Awolowo University. As a fresh student, she probably did not want to stay inside school hostels because of the unhealthy state of these hostels or applied for hostel slots and got denied because of politicking associated with it.
For security reasons and comfortability, her parents rented an apartment worth over N150,000 for her to live comfortably and be secured. Unfortunately, Heritage Ajibola who escaped all the traps of enemies and grim reaper washed her own clothes and in her attempt to spread the clothes innocently stood on an opening of soakaway covered up with an object. She fell into the soakaway and spent one hour before she was rescued and later pronounced dead. She died in the course of pursuing her ambitions.
I browsed through the internet and I watched some videos where the deceased, Heritage Ajibola was singing with her melodious voice. She was not just a student of Linguistics and African Languages but she is in possession of a sonorous voice which would have been a blessing to our entertainment industry with her talent cum professional knowledge if we had allowed her to live and fulfil her destiny.
We ask our girls to avoid early pregnacies and find solace in education yet we can not secure them in schools. The story of Heritage Ajibola is not different from the sorrowful tales of thousands of girls who are walking corpses in Nigerian schools. They are victims of intimidation, rape and sexual assault. We condemn these sad occurrences everytime but we have never set up a template to efficiently tackle them. We deny the victims’ families justice, we deny them the chance to mourn in peace.
Heritage’s death was avoidable. It was not an accident. Destiny was not against her. A criminal negligence it’s. It is simply a cold-murder. If the soakaway was well covered, Heritage would not have died. Findings revealed that the rent fee of the hostel is in stages. N90000 per head for 4 persons in a room, N120,000 per head for 3 persons in a room, N160000 per head for 2 persons in a room with fridge and N150,000 per head for 2 persons in a room without fridge. All these exorbitant charges yet they could not buy cement to cover a soakway. It is not only sad but tells more about us as a nation.
The hostel of Heritage Ajibola shares same fate with hundreds of hostels in Ile-Ife. Most hostels are dilapidated and need serious renovation but the management of the institution has no moral right to enforce such step because they are guilty as well.
If hostels within the control of the management are in good shape, it would be easier for them to setup a taskforce that would inspect all student hostels outside the school campus. In a sane society where human lives matter, the hostel would have been shut down and the owners especially the person in charge would be on trial.
But the owners and person in charge are very fortunate because the management of OAU has no interest in justice but in condolences. They would not access the situation neither would they take any positive step to avert another occurence. If there are people who are desperately agitating for reforms, they will be gagged. That is how OAU management addresses issues. They have no compassion and the traces should not be expected in their actions.
Like Timothy Adegoke, like Heritage Ajibola. We surely do not know the next person. In a nation of celebrated injustice, one must not get killed should be the watchword.
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