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Strange culture in Auchi Poly

How armed man shot dead student celebrating graduation

From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Pius Uloko family of Ivieadachi Quarters, Fugar, Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo State still feels like dreaming recalling the death of their daughter,  Lauretta Apaume.

Her life was cut short at her graduation party at Peaceful ‘A’ Villa, Ehi Girls Grammar School Road, Auchi.

Late Lauretta, fresh graduate of Banking and Finance of Auchi Polytechnic, never imagined death lurked in the corner and that her post graduation party organized and hosted by her would result in untimely death.

When The Education Report visited the family house at Fugar, sympathizers and family members were still around to console the bereaved family while the heap of earth on Lauretta’s grave was still very fresh. She was buried in the front of the family house.

Sad dad

Mr. Uloko Pius, father of the deceased who was greatly devastated and still trying to come to terms with the reality of life that the girl, the salt, as she was fondly called by her grandfather was no more but lying cold dead in the grave. He said Lauretta meant everything to him and her thoughts would forever be in his heart.

“My daughter was a good girl. She was very obedient and exemplary. She was a beloved daughter and intelligent too. While in school, she never told me that she had any problems with anybody. They have never also sent for me to come to the school that she had issues.

“And because of these, words are not enough to express her loss. Because of our close attachment, she always accompanied me to the farm on holidays.

“She told me her intention to study Banking and Finance, and never told me that she missed any papers.

“I called her Lauretta and my father gave her the name Apaume. And if I should tell you how attached my father was to her you would not understand. He calls her the salt which we cannot do without,” he said.

“I do not know what the government intends to do because I know that my daughter did not die a natural death but her life was cut short in her prime. So, it is the government that knows what to do in that regard. I cannot do anything. It is only God that can avenge her death. The government should investigate the matter and give us justice. Uloko thanked the school management and the students for their show of love and solidarity in their trying time.

“The students protested her death and with this, I am quite convinced that the school really loved my daughter. Additionally, the school management has sent delegates to come and see us.”

Mum’s tale

The love and affection that existed between late Lauretta and her mother is what no amount of words can explain. She did everything possible for her (mother) to look good.

“I was home when the news of her death was broken to me. It was very bitter. It was really painful how my daughter’s dreams and future were cut short

That fateful day, we discussed how she was going to celebrate her graduation. She called and told me that she will finish her examinations on Thursday and later, she called me again and said mummy, I would want to celebrate it but I do not have money to organize the party.

“So, I asked her if she wanted me to provide her food for the party, which she turned down.

She said ‘mummy do not worry and when I come, we shall arrange how it will be handled.’

I later called and advised her not to make trouble with anybody and she said okay. The latest news was a call that Apaume was shot. They said she was shot and I do not know if she is alive or not. So, I decided to dial her number and it was not connecting and I had to reach her sister and was told that she was shot by local security agent.”

Celebrating with armed guards

However, the end of the drama that led to Lauretta death is that on the evening she celebrated her graduation, her sister said the landlord who is the head of the local security outfit of the town invited two operatives to maintain security.

For no justifiable reason, the two operatives were asked to shoot into the air to announce the commencement of the party.

While one shot into the air, the second didn’t raise the nuzzle of the gun and rather pointed at Lauretta and pulled the trigger. At that point, the celebrant turned the deceased and her celebration became her funeral instead.

Lauretta fell at the impact of the gunshot directly on her chest and before she was taken to the hospital, she had died.

Poly says it’s strange

The Public Relations Officer of the Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Mr. Mustaphar Oshiobugie, said the institution frowns at partying after examinations

He noted that: “The polytechnic stands on post graduation. I will not say graduation because the results are not even out for you to see whether you passed or not. It is when you have pass that you can talk of graduation. Our stand on after examinations celebrations are clear. Over time and also this time, circulars were issued warning the students that no form of pouring water on people, no wild parties on campus.

“Go home quietly if possible, if you are a Christian, go to the church and pray. They have different fellowships, you can go to your fellowship and pray and if you are a Muslim, you can go to the Mosque at the appropriate time and offer prayers to God for sustaining you all through the period of the examinations.

“But the idea of parties, we do not allow it on campus. Go home and meet your parents. You can celebrate end of your examinations with your parents. When the results are out, and you passed, during the convocation, which is the graduation, then you can celebrate with your friends. That is how we do it. And that is our position. The school does not encourage party after graduation”, he said.

Lauretta’s death is very sad and painful. Of course, you know the incident did not happen in the polytechnic campus.

“We have to talk to the students. They heard what happened. Normally, you know that once a student is killed, other students will be agitated. So, the Rector and student affairs office called the students and calmed them down.”

The Edo State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo confirmed that: “A female student of Auchi Polytechnic who after her final exam, as is the tradition, was celebrating that she was through with school was shot dead. The vigilance men, according to the report of the Divisional Police Officer on ground, had been invited by the students and it was in the night.

“It was clearly a misadventure; it was not an intentional killing as there is no record of any sort that there had been malice between the late student or any students for that matter and the vigilance men. So, the vigilance man had an accidental discharge while the celebration was on.

“He is already in custody. That is what I can tell you for now, while we are doing all we can to pacify the students so that there would be no reprisal attack on innocent citizens. The situation is under control.

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