Edo Lecturer Commits Suicide Amid Agony of Unpaid Salaries

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· Rector of Auchi Polytechnic passes away

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

Tragedy struck at the weekend at the Tayo Akpata University (formerly Edo State College of Education) when one of its principal lecturers, Mr Friday Orobator allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself.

He reportedly took his life last Friday, allegedly due to the failure of his employers to pay his 13 months of unpaid salaries

Also in Edo State yesterday, the management of the Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State announced the passage of its Rector Dr. Momodu Jimah, disclosing that Jimah passed away Friday night at exactly 7:00 p.m.

Orobator’s lifeless body was discovered behind his apartment at about 1:30 p.m. dangling with the rope he used to hang himself after weeks of lamenting lack of funds to take care of his family needs and health challenges.

The tragic incident attracted a crowd of neighbours, sympathisers and passers-by, who wondered what could compel the deceased to take such an extreme decision.

Until his passage, THISDAY learnt, Orobator was a member of the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) and a principal lecturer at the department of Adult Education.

Before he committed suicide, THISDAY learnt that the deceased complained bitterly to close associates over his inability to raise funds to attend to his failing health due to months of unpaid salaries.

On Wednesday, according to sources, the late lecturer had told a colleague that he was tired of begging for money from friends to cater for his family needs and his health challenges.

Attempts to get his family members at his Obakhavbaye residence to comment on the incident were unsuccessful as they continued to mourn the demise of their breadwinner.

Reacting to the incident yesterday, the Chairman of COEASU, Mr. Fred Omonuwa said their colleague died as a result of lack and inability to access medical and appealed to the state government to pay the workers their 13 months unpaid salary.

Omonuwa said: “It is clear the death came as a result of lack and inability to access medical facilities. Some months ago he became very sick and depended on friends for assistance but very recently he started complaining of getting tired of constantly begging to survive.

“Of course, everybody knows that the Edo State Government owes us 13 months of salaries, which we have continued to agitate for even before the election. But it was tagged political agitation. The man couldn’t provide for himself.

“His wife just had a baby. We were surprised on Friday that he took his own life. Before he committed suicide, he spoke to some colleagues on Wednesday complaining bitterly of his inability to access medical facility and becoming very ashamed of begging friends for money to treat himself.

“We are aware some friends in Lagos and Benin have done their best in the past few weeks by providing money for him and yesterday he took his life by hanging. We are very much aware that the suicide he committed was as a result of lack of money.

“As far as we are concerned, we staff of the college are pained, our people are going through a lot and dying but this is an extreme case because of the way he took his own life. Edo state government should please listen to us.

“Now school is about resume our members can’t even pay the school fees of their children. What have we done to deserve this? We are pained by the loss of this senior colleague, a principal lecturer, we are not happy”.

In a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Mustapha Oshiobugie yesterday, the management of Auchi Polytechnic announced the passage of its Rector, Dr. Momodu Jimah

Oshiobugie disclosed that the institution “is mourning following the demise of her rector who passed away on Friday by 7.00pm after a brief illness.

“I can confirm that he is no more and his remains will be committed to mother earth today Saturday by 10 am according to Muslim rites,” the public relations officer said.

Oshiobugie said the tenure of the late rector witnessed a significant development of physical infrastructure, adding that the late Jimah would be remembered for also curbing professional misconduct.

According to him, the late rector joined the services of the school in 1991 as an instructor and later converted to the leadership cadre and rose to the post of the chief lecturer in 2009.

He held several sensitive positions and was made the Acting Rector in 2017 before he was appointed the substantive Rector in 2018.

The management of the polytechnic prayed for the repose of the soul of the rector and the fortitude to his family to bear the loss.

Also in a statement yesterday, Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, described the late rector as an astute administrator who contributed to the growth of the institution by ensuring it’s stability and development.

Obaseki said: “It was with a heavy heart that I received news of the passing of the rector. I condole with the management, staff and students of the institution over the death of DJimah.

“As an administrator, late Jimah brought his expertise to bear in the transformation of the institution, providing leadership to steer the institution right upon his appointment as Rector.”

The governor commiserates with the family of the deceased, praying that God will grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.