PRESS RELEASE BY THE MICHAEL OKPARA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE, UMUDIKE, ON THE RECENT PROTEST OF OUR STUDENTS OVER THE STATE OF THE IKOT-EKPENE ROAD

It is no longer news that the Abia State end of the Umuahia/ Ikot-Ekpene road has become barely passable. No doubt, the sorry state of the road has occasioned untold hardship on our staff and student populations, including the loss of lives of our dear students.

The latest painful loss is the death of Miss Chidinma Ogbonna, a 500-level student of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe, and the entire Management are deeply saddened by this great loss. We ask her family to please accept our heartfelt condolences.

Be assured that the VC is well aware of the challenges presented by the sorry state of the road and has not been idle. For the past few weeks, the VC through his SA on Projects, Engr. Richard Onyeaso invited the local FERMA on an inspection of the bad spots, took pictorial evidence, and prepared a strong appeal letter to FERMA. The VC personally took these documents to FERMA headquarters in Abuja to make further physical appeals. His efforts were rewarded with an official approval for palliative work to begin on the road.

The Vice-Chancellor has addressed the students, thanking them for keeping their protest peaceful and also for extracting a promise from the State Government to commence palliative work on the said road. He, therefore, appeals to the students and entire University community to maintain calm and return to their lawful businesses while we wait for FERMA and/or the State Government to mobilize and begin work on the road.

We further appeal to the operators of minibuses, motor tricycles aka ‘keke’ and motorcycles aka ‘okada’ to be more responsible in operating these vehicles. Their recklessness is, unfortunately, a major contributor to some tragic incidents that could be avoided.

Meanwhile, the appropriate officers of the University have been mandated to run advocacy programs, targeting commercial vehicle operators on that road to curb reckless driving, whilst we keep reminding FERMA to implement the approval that the VC has obtained.

Adanma Odefa
University’s Public Relations Officer

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