Tony Osauzo, Benin
Tragedy struck in Benin on Friday, when a Principal Lecturer of the defunct College of Education Ekiadolor, now Tayo Akpata University, Mr Friday Orobator, committed suicide by hanging himself at his Obakhazbaye residence over his alleged inability to cater for himself and family.
Recall that staff and pensioners of institution had protested for over one month to the Edo State Government to pay their outstanding salaries and pensions of over 11 months, but respite did not come as the government claim it was not owing them.
Orobator, lifeless body was said to have been discovered behind his apartment at about 1:30pm with rope which he used to hang himself tied around his neck.
The incident attracted a large crowd of neighbours, sympathizers and passers-by who expressed shock over his death.
The late Orobator said to be in his 50’s was a member of the College of Education Academic Staff Union, (COEASU), and a Principal Lecturer at the Department of Adult Education,
He was said to have complained bitterly to close associates over his inability and lack of money to tend to his failing health.
The late Lecturer was said to have told a colleague last Wednesday that he was tired of begging for money from friends to cater for his family needs and his health challenges.
His family members declined to comment on the incident as they were mourning the death of their breadwinner.
The Chairman of College of Education Academic Staff Union, (COEASU), Comrade Fred Omonuwa, in his comment, said their colleagues died as a result of lack and inability to access medical facilities and appealed to the state government to pay the workers their 13 months salary arrears.
“It is clear the death came as a result of lack and inability to access medical facilities. Some months ago he became very sick and depended on friends for assistance but very recently he started complaining of getting tired of consistently begging to survive.
“Of course, everybody knows that the Edo State Government owes us 13 months of salary which we have continued to agitate for even before the election but it was tagged ‘political agitation’, the man couldn’t provide for himself.
“His wife just had a baby. We were surprised yesterday (Friday) that he took his own life. Before he committed suicide he spoke to some colleagues on Wednesday complaining bitterly his inability to access medical facility and becoming very ashamed of begging friends for money to treat himself.
“We are aware some friends in Lagos and Benin have done their best in the past few weeks by providing money for him and yesterday he took his life by hanging. We are very much aware that the suicide he committed was as a result of lack of money.
“As far as we are concerned, we staff of the college are pained, our people are going through a lot and dying but this is an extreme case because of the way he took his own life. Edo State Government should please listen to us. Now, school is about to resume our members can’t even pay the school fees of their children. What have we done to deserve this? We are pained by the loss of this senior colleague, a principal lecturer, we are not happy”, Omonuwa said.
Meanwhile, the body of late Orobator has been deposited at an undisclosed morgue by men of the Oba Market Police station.
The late Lecturer is survived by a wife and four children.