Medical Students of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Tuesday staged a peaceful protest inside the Enugu campus of the university over the cut in electricity supply to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) old site.
The students, who changed solidarity songs carried placards with various inscriptions, such as “Doctors are made, they’re not created. No light at old UNTH for 2 months. Power has left us; Two months and counting no light. Give us light at old UNTH; Online classes no light, no wifi. Give us light; We don tire to dey burn night candle #we need light; I don finish my money for power bank, #lightupoldunth; amongst others.
They blocked the main roundabout inside UNEC, halting vehicular movements from all corners of the institution and leaving motorists attempting to come inside and go outside the campus stranded for hours.
The protesters urged the management of the university to find a lasting solution to the epileptic supply of electricity to their old UNTH location, where students doctors reside and take their studies.
Some of the students, in an interview with our correspondent, decried the persistent outage in the area in the last two months.
They also accused the dean, college of medicine, Prof. Cajetan Onyedum of not making any efforts at ameliorating the plights of the students in the campus.
One of the protesters, who simply idenitifed himself as Declan, said the students had been suffering in silence due to the persistent power outage.
He said that the students had been paying to charge their phones and laptops in order to carry out academic assignments.
He said, “We’re here to demand for electricity supply at Old UNTH. We have not had light there for more than two months now. And we’re medical students.
“They are giving us generator off and on which s not near enough. We have been trying to be diplomatic but it’s not working. That’s why we stormed here for peaceful protest.
“It (the situation) has been a very huge distraction for our academic activities. As medical students, we used to wake up at night to read but we can no longer do that because there is no electricity.
"It’s equally affecting our social life. We can’t use our refrigerator because the authorities warned us not to put it on”.
Another student, Sydney, expressed disappointment with the attitude of the dean of the college for not bringing the attention of the university authorities to their plights.
He said, “As medical students, we receive most of our lectures through zoom. We need electricity to keep up with the zoom lectures. Apart from that, we equally need electricity to read our slides, photos. Our refrigerators, phones, laptops are there without being charged.
“We followed it diplomatically it didn’t work. That’s why we’re here. If this doesn’t work out, maybe we device another means of forcing them to give us light.
“Our dean told us he has been communicating with the authorities and that very soon something will be done about it. That has been what he has been saying. Only for us to come here, one person from the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor told us that they’re not even aware of the development. It means our dean was not telling us the true situation of things.
“It is our belief that the management is not doing anything about that because if they were, the dean’s statement ought to be in consonance with that of the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor”
The protesters appealed to the management of the university to intervene and restore electricity back to the UNTH old site.
The public relations officer of the university, Dr Okwun Omeaku, refused to make comments on the matter when contacted.
He only said “okay” after listening to the question from our correspondent in the protest.