Armed with placards, students of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko Ondo State, came out in hundreds to protest over incessant road accidents along Akungba-Ikare road.
The protest came after three accidents occurred on the Akungba-Ikare road on Thursday, February 3, 2022.
At the peaceful protest, the students of AAUA, blocked the road to prevent vehicles from passing through the University road.
The demands of the students
The President of the Students Union, Kolade Olumide Ogunsanmi addressed that the state governor is aware of the students agitations and will not rest until their needs are met.
“We have written several letters, on the 23rd of January, I wrote an open letter to the governor. The governor is aware of the situation as our letter is on social media.
“Number one we are pleading that the trucks should be moving from 11 pm to 5 am, but now we don’t want any truck in Akungba. I want to send this a form of warning that we can only kill the message and not the messenger. The message we are passing to Mr Governor, the federal government and other stakeholders involved in this menace is that we don’t want any truck to ply Akungba-Ikare road.”
The Public Relations Officer of the Student Union, Akinsulere Simbo, stated the demands of the students
“We out here demanding from the state and federal government to put stop to trucks passing through Akungba, because it has been a death trap over the years, and we have lost so many students to this road. Now it has become so rampant that someone would die in a week.
“Most students came here to get a Bachelor certificate but most of them are being taken back home dead, we don’t want this situation again, we want the government to stop trucks from passing through Akungba road.”
The Vice-Chancellor at the protest ground
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Olugbenga Ige, who came to support the agitation of the students noted that the governor will take quick steps in order to avert the occurrence of such incidents.
“This information about these incessant accidents, we have been condemning it since 2020. And before now we have made all efforts to make sure these accidents are stopped. Akungba-Akoko is a very small community, and trailers passing this road is too heavy for this community. Now in a day nothing less than 1500 trailers pass through this community and the road is so narrow, and the community is now populated because of this University.
“When this happened yesterday, the student union excos got in touch with me and informed me that a former student was involved. As a first step, the examination for today has been postponed. Now we have gotten with Mr Governor. I have called the chairman of the council.
Prof Ige said the government ordered that a permanent barricade will be constructed to prevent trucks from plying the road.
“Mr Governor has now directed that pending the time the dualization will be done, the government of Ondo State will erect a permanent barricade. What brought of this is that the barricade was constructed by the community, so they have problems within themselves, and I heard they collect money there.
“Now this barricade will be the government’s barricade, and it will be permanent. The trucks can pass wherever they want to pass.”
Campus Journalists stated the implications of the silence from the government
The Editor-in-Chief of Campus Journalists in the institution, Anjorin Phillip talked about the implications of the silence from the Federal Government and State government.
“Since Governor Arakunrin Akeredolu has been elected into office, he has made countless promises that the Akungba road will be dualized, however, we are yet to see any tangible efforts. That’s why we are pleading for a tangible effort.”
“The silence of the state government and federal government on this issue is causing a lot of cases, and if they don’t do anything tangible, visible to the eye, we will still keep having more of accidents and deaths on this road, today we are pleading that hey should do something on this Akungba-Ikare road,” Anjorin Phillip told this reporter.
The Ondo State Government Responds
After trending with the hashtags ‒ #SaveAkungba and #SaveAAUA, and staging a peaceful demonstration at the University’s main gate, the government of the state finally responded to the yearnings of the students and residents of the Akungba community.
In response to the demands, the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu has assured that the construction of the bad portion of the road will begin in no time.
In a press statement by Richard Olatunde, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Ondo State on the February 4, 2022, titled, “Akungba Accident: Akeredolu Sympathizes With Victims’ Families, Orders Strict Compliance Of Mounted Barricade”, the governor was said to have received the news of the recent accident with a heavy heart.
It also noted that the governor has been ensuring modalities are put in place to forestall continuous accidents on the road.
“Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, received the news of the accident In Akungba-Akoko which claimed the lives of residents including students, with a heavy heart.”
“The Governor said the incident was not expected given the steps that had been taken to forestall such occurrence after the incessant accidents that have claimed indigenes and students’ lives in the past.”
In the statement signed by Richard Olabode and made available to newsmen, it says, “In clear terms, Governor Akeredolu had ordered that a barricade be mounted at the troubled portion of the road to prevent heavy-duty trucks from plying that route.”
The Governor, however, commiserates with the people of Akungba-Akoko as well as the family of the victims, expressed disappointment over people’s penchant for money over lives.
“It is disheartening that some people have turned the barricade mounted by the government to prevent these heavy trucks from plying the road, into a money-making venture. If people truly value lives and understand that whatever money you made at the expense of people’s lives is blood money. This particular incident was highly avoidable.”
“On several occasions, I have visited Akungba-Akoko on the heels of incessant accidents. As part of our temporary solution to the situation, a barricade was mounted. It was expected that no heavy-duty vehicle would ply that road again. However, we have received reports that some residents of the town open this barricade for heavy-duty trucks to pass for a token.”