UI rules out suicide in lecturer’s death

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The management of the University of Ibadan (UI) has dismissed speculations of suicide in connection to the recent death of one of its former academic staff members, Mr Aminu Zubairu.

It said that such claims were baseless based on available official accounts of the incident.

EduCeleb.com had earlier reported that the late Zubairu who taught in the Department of Mathematics at the UI was on Monday found unconscious in his apartment engulfed in a fire incident. But efforts to revive him from suffocation after that failed.

But some media reports claimed that Zubairu set himself ablaze, a claim university spokesperson, Tunji Oladejo denied.

In an interview with EduCeleb.com on Saturday, Mr Oladejo said that the body of the late mathematics lecturer was intact when discovered by the fire service men that put out the fire.

“Every opinion (about the circumstances of his death) is based on speculations,” he said.

“Nobody was an eyewitness at the scene of that unfortunate incident. So, nobody can say for sure what actually happened.

“We cannot say specifically whether the man set his own apartment ablaze or an explosion from one of the electrical or kitchen appliances.

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“In fact, there was no fringe of burn on his body. Probably, when the fire broke out, he was caught in the inferno but was later found on his bed by (officials of) the fire brigade unit of the university.”

“They were able to put out the fire. It was in the process of inspecting the apartment while making an assessment of the incident that it was discovered that a person was still sleeping on a bed.”

He said that the emergency management officers moved the late Zubair out of the apartment immediately he was found and took him to the university’s medical centre known as Jaja Clinic. But he could not confirm whether or not he was brought in dead.

Our earlier report on the incident alluded to the 22 years Mr Zubair spent on his PhD programme but was yet to earn the degree at the university.

But Mr Oladejo who initially said that he was not privy to information about that later hinted on efforts within the Department of Mathematics that would have ensured that the deceased completed the academic programme, which should ordinarily last a minimum of three years.

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He added that, “One thing that must be noted is that the UI does not award its degree anyhow. You have to do it within the confines of UI examination conditions and criteria.

“At a point when he was not progressing, I think about three or four years ago, Professor Payne, who was then the HOD was alarmed.

“He called a meeting of all the senior professors in that department that he (Zubair) should choose anyone of them who could assist him to progress. If he did that, that should be tomorrow.

“They were interested in ensuring that he progressed in his academic career.”

He also confirmed that Zubair recently resigned as a lecturer in the University.

The deceased was reportedly buried at the Akinyele Cemetery after his death and is survived by three children.

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