Following the death of two students of the Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, namely Madu Ebere (male) and Providence Ibekwe Chinyere (female), two of whom were in Computer Science department, which incident occurred last Sunday August 5,2018 traffic came to a halt for several hours yesterday August 6 and commuters had a hectic day with their trips delayed as hundreds of protesting students blocked the two sides of the Owerri Port Harcourt express way, agitating that the lives of the students be protected from preventable accidents.
A source close the college said that the government and contractors who handled the works on the highway did not consider the site of the college or take measures to prevent accidents in view of the fact that students operate on both sides of the road, with off-campus hostels built all over the Umuagwo community.
Our source said that the appeals to the authorities to put traffic control at the site of institution had not yielded any result leading to the death of many at the point of Zebra Crossing with more than six students losing their lives in the past one week while crossing the road.
The angry and placard carrying students had also established heavy obstacles on both approaches to the college campus and made dangerous bonfires on the highway thus forcing travelers in and out of Owerri, the Imo state capital to be delayed for several hours.
The protesters demanded that government builds a pedestrian bridge and streets lights for the safety of students of the college as necessary solution to the accidents. Some of the placards which read, “No more burial of students, we need over head bridges and street light”, captured the mood of the day but have so far fallen on deaf ears.
It took the intervention of the polytechnic authorities and Imo state government officials for the students to vacate the scene and allow traffic flow while some students were delegated to discuss the way out with state government.
When contacted on the nagging issue, the Rector of the polytechnic Rev. Fr. Wence Madu, said, that before the sad incident, the College authorities had written severally to the contractors in charge of the road to provide safety mechanism at that point of the road all to no avail.
Some of the protesting students who spoke to our reporter said, that if the government cannot build overhead bridge or pedestrian crossing immediately, it should as a matter of urgency establish speed control bumps.