By Ogochukwu Anioke, Abakaliki
Students of the Ebonyi State University (EBSU), Abakaliki, on Thursday marched on the campus to protest the alleged death of five of their colleagues.
The protest kicked off at the permanent site of the institution, causing a gridlock on the busy Enugu/Abakaliki Expressway.
Policemen and soldiers were deployed last night to ensure the protest does not turn violent.
According to sources, five students slumped on Wednesday in a stampede at the school’s ICT centre slated as an examination hall.
A source said the university had adopted the Computer Based Test (CBT) for some General Studies Program (GST) courses which are compulsory courses taken by all students, irrespective of the department or faculty.
The source said the hall was too small for the crowd of students that were to sit for the exam. It was also gathered that students from the four campuses were told to come to the ICT centre to take the exam.
The source said: “There was poor planning of the exams. The hall has about 500 computers and students to sit for the exams were over 1,000. The university administration should have staggered the exams so that the hall will not be crowded.
“Knowing well that a one-room apartment paraded as an ICT centre cannot accommodate all students to write GST 101 and 102, they should’ve typed out the questions and made photocopies. About 4:15pm, the invigilators announced that the exam, which had been written midway, was cancelled.
“About five students collapsed. The worst part is that there was no medical centre to rush them to as they struggled for survival.”
Students Union Government (SUG) President Abanni Samson regretted the incident, and described it as avoidable
He said: “We assure everyone that never again will EBSU students, under our leadership, go through such horror in the name of writing any exam or undertaking any academic activity.
“The planning could have been better to prevent the mayhem. I am personally sorry for all who got hurt.”
Samson implored the students to remain calm until confirmation is made over the rumoured death but the students embarked ont the protest yesterday.
Spokesman of the institution Patrick Itumo could not be reached for comments. His phone was switched off.
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