PAUL OMOKUVIE, Bauchi
Following the death of three students of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, in a collapsed pedestrian bridge in the university, President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday gave a strong warning to governing councils and management of the federal institutions of learning to take the safety of their students as a top priority.
The president, who said he was deeply saddened by the news of the death of the three students gave the warning through a Presidential Assessment Committee which visited ATBU, Bauchi, to assess the collapsed pedestrian bridge on Friday.
Buhari who sympathised with the governing council and management of the university, parents, and guardians of the deceased students, said safety measure must now be a priority in all educational institutions to prevent a re-occurrence of the unfortunate incident.
The presidential committee which was led by the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Architect Sunny Echono, in company with the TETFund Executive Secretary, Professor Elias Bogoro, among others, later entered a session with the management and governing council of ATBU shortly after the inspection of the collapsed bridge.
Addressing the pro-chancellor, Ambassador Nomita Akanbi, and some members of her council, the vice-chancellor, Professor Muhammad Abdulazeez and principal staff of the university, Echono, conveyed a condolence message from the president saying that he was deeply touched by the unfortunate incident that led to the loss of lives as well as a stern warning on provision of student safety measure to avoid preventable death of students on campus.
He said: “Mr. President was deeply touched and has given firm directive that this (what happened at ATBU) is a wake-up call for all of us in the education sector. He sent the message across to all the governing councils, vice-chancellors of universities, rectors of our polytechnics, and provosts of colleges of education to henceforth ensure that they prioritised the safety and welfare of our students.”
Echono disclosed that based on an earlier on-the-spot assessment of the scene of the incident by officials from the ministry including the University Technical Team to carry out physical measurement and assessment, he assured that the committee would make recommendations to the president in order to address the immediate and projected needs of the university community