By Ikeugonna Eleke
Students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, have protested the death of one of their colleagues, Mr Francis Madubuobi, a final year student of Department of Applied Microbiology and Brewing, who slumped and died while playing a game of basketball with his friends in the university premises.
The students blamed his death on what they called the poor medical facilities in the school's clinic.
The deceased student was said to have been taken to the institution's medical centre after he collapsed in the pitch but was said to have died as a result of lack of attention.
The students while protesting his death, called on the management to equip the school's medical centre or scrap it immediately.
They marched in their thousands from Nnamdi Azikiwe University to Arroma Junction, Awka, a journey of over four kilometres, carrying placards with various inscriptions. Some of the placards read; "Unizik medical, a death trap", "UNIZIK, tell us what killed Francis'', among others.
The students all dressed, in black, were equally chanting songs, meant to provoke the management of the institution.
According to the Departmental President, Mr Prosper Chisimdi, who narrated the situation as he witnessed it, 'I feel bitter about everything. Francis, our course mate slumped while playing basketball in school. We rushed him to the school clinic.
'On getting to the place, no single doctor was there to attend to him. The nurse there couldn't even attend to him and he was right before us dying. After many hours, a female doctor came and was looking for her apparatus. No oxygen was in the clinic.
'We rushed Francis to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, in the school ambulance. I was inside the ambulance holding Francis' foot. It was damn cold, his eyes were already open. I was scared. I knew only a miracle could happen because Francis had no pulse.
'On getting to Amaku General Hospital, the doctors said it was already late. Francis had no life in him again. They left him unattended. We felt it has happened already,' Chisimdi narrated.
The students warned the management of the institution against taking any form of sanction against their protesting colleagues as the action was engineered by the sense of loss they all felt.
But in his reaction, the Director, Information, Public Relations and Protocol, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Dr Emmanuel Ojukwu, who spoke on behalf of the institution, refuted the allegation, saying Francis had already died before he was rushed to the school's clinic.
Ojukwu, in a press release, said the deceased was quickly rushed to the University Medical Centre but had no pulse upon examination.
'This means that he had died before being brought to the University Medical Centre.
'He was thereafter taken to the Teaching Hospital, Amaku for further attempts at salvaging an already bad situation. He was without pulse and confirmed dead,' the PRO pointed.
He called on the students to maintain calm, while appealing to them to demonstrate with caution. He prayed for the repose of the soul of Francis Madubuobi.