A final-year student of the Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, in the Etsako West Local Government Area of Edo State has been shot dead, 24 hours after writing her final examination.
Our correspondent learnt that the deceased, Lawrenta Uloko Apaume, a Higher National Diploma II student of Banking and Finance, had joined other graduating students at a party to celebrate the completion of their academic programme at a private hostel on Iyekhei Grammar School Road on Friday evening.
It was learnt that the organisers of the party invited some vigilantes to provide security at the event.
EDOCONNET gathered that the gun held by one of the vigilantes failed to release any bullet when he shot in the air during the party.
It was further learnt that tragedy struck when the gun discharged and hit Lawrenta as the vigilante lowered it in an attempt to find out what went wrong.
The development was said to have left her in a pool of her blood and caused panic among her colleagues, while some of them were said to have fled the scene.
Relatives or friends of the deceased could not be reached for comments.
A student of the institution, who did not want to be identified because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said, “The vigilante was lowering the gun to know why it failed to discharge a bullet after he fired. In the process, the bullet released itself without pulling the trigger and accidentally killed the girl who was among the celebrators.”
When contacted, the Public Public Relations Officer of the polytechnic, Mr. Mustapha Oshiobugie, commiserated with family of the deceased student.
Oshiobugie added that the matter had been reported to the police.
He said, “Examinations ended on Friday and the management made it clear that there should be no party on campus, no celebration on campus and no pouring of water on anybody on campus. “The narrative we have is that the deceased attended a party along Iyekhei Grammar School Road, which is about two kilometres east of the polytechnic and that the organiser of the party brought in a vigilante group to ensure security of the place.
“But unfortunately, there was an accidental discharge which killed the student. It is sad, it is unfortunate and management expresses very deep condolences to the family of the girl.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, confirmed the incident to EDOCONNET on the telephone on Saturday, adding that records indicated that Lawrenta died at a private hospital in Auchi.
He added, “It was a female student of Auchi polytechnic who, having taken her final exam, as is the tradition, was celebrating that she was done with school when the incident occurred. The vigilantes, according to the report of the divisional police officer on ground, had been invited by the students and it was in the night.”
The police commissioner, who described the killing as accidental, however, noted that the vigilante had been taken into custody as investigations were ongoing.
He explained, “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 student for that matter and the vigilantes.”