OBAFEMI Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife has lost three lecturers from three departments within eight days, describing the situation a “painful one”, and circumstances surrounding their deaths “under investigations”.
The deceased were identified as Nicholas Igbokwe, a PhD lecturer in the Department of Physical and Health Education; Jerome Elusiyan who was a professor of Paediatrics and Child Health in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences and Victoria Adeniyi, the vice-dean of the Department of Dramatic Arts.
Abiodun Olanrewaju, OAU Public Relations Officer who confirmed the death to The ICIR on Monday said it was “more painful” that the University lost the academic icons “circumstantially”.
Olanrewaju said the 62-year-old Nicholas Igbokwe died in his office. He was found lifeless on December 7, but the university is still investigating the circumstance surrounding the death of the former director of sports.
The PRO had also confirmed the death of Elusiyan, Chairman Medical Advisory Committee and former head of department (HOD) of Paediatrics at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife to an attack by unknown gunmen.
He said the gunmen are yet to be identified.
Elusiyan was reportedly attacked between Ekpoma and Benin in Edo State while returning from Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital where he had worked as an external examiner at the paediatrics clinical examination of Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma.
The professor had presented an inaugural lecture in September that was titled Between too Little and too Much: Unraveling the Mystery and Misery of Endocrine Disorders in Children.
It was reported that Police found Elusiyan after being shot dead at the scene. Meanwhile, his driver survived the bullet wounds.
The OAU PRO told The ICIR that the security operatives are investigating into his death. He added that they had not provided any information if an arrest has been concerning Elusiyan’s attack.
“Security operatives have not told us about if they had made some arrest or not,” he said.
Though Olanrewaju said that the school management has been in contact with the security operatives, he would not give the details of the discussion. “We don’t tell the details of such things on the pages of the newspaper”.
Also, a female lecturer in the field of Dramatic Arts, Dr. Victoria Oluwaremilekun Adeniyi passed away barely 48 hours after Elusiyan’s death at the OAUTHC on Sunday.
“It is too painful for us as a University to tearfully break the unpalatable news of the demise of another promising academic and a prominent member of OAU community, Dr. Victoria Oluwaremilekun Adeniyi, who, until her death early this morning was the Acting Head, Department of Dramatic Arts of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile – Ife,” Olanerewaju’s earlier statement read partly.
The dramatic art lecturer had directed the school’s Convocation stage play that was presented on Tuesday being part of the 44th convocation ceremony that held between 11 and 14 December.
“The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, who was visibly unhappy, had visited the University’s Teaching Hospital and directed that necessary papers be filled for the conduct of a post mortem,” it read.
While Olanrewaju was speaking to The ICIR, he said the cause of the Adeniyi’s death was yet to be revealed.
“It is painful now that we lost lecturers. It is more painful that we lost them circumstantially,” he said.
Olanrewaju said the news of the death of the three dons would not be shared on the University website yet since they were not good news.
In a reaction to the loss, Jegede Gbenga, one of the newly convocated graduates from the University’s College of Medicine described professor Jerome Elusiyan as a mentor and a teacher who understood what he taught, particularly on endocrine disorders in children.
“He would teach you (medical students) how to be calm if you were presenting patients to him and you were feeling frightened,” he said.
Also, Emmanuel Kehinde, a graduate and former student of Nicholas Igbokwe from the Physical and Health Education said the decease was known for sport in Ife. He stated that Igbokwe was the manager of the OAU hockey team where under his training, the team usually win gold medals during competitions.