Management of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri has denied media reports which claimed that a
Senior Lecturer in our College “slumped and died in the classroom.”
In a statement signed by the Registrar, BARR. B. F. ANYANWU the school said “nothing like that happened
in our College and that that piece of news is yet another bit of the misinformation and
disinformation that has recently characterized the social space in our country.
“The College community would have ignored that bit of reportage but given the gravity of
attendant insinuations that the “lecturer was suspected to have died of COVID-19
related issues”, the consequences of ignoring such are not only dire for the College community but have very huge potentials to create panic in the larger society.
“In making this rebuttal, the College Management would like to present a chronicle of the events of Tuesday, 16th February, 2021 in our College so that the larger reading public would get to see how the reporters and their jackleg so-called “sources” have
mischievously turned a tragedy to a circus of sensationalism, where the only fragments
of truth are that someone died, and that the someone was a staff of the College.
“Yes, the College sadly lost an academic staff, Mr Michael Echetama, an ebulient, friendly and humourous person on that fateful day, but the deceased was nowhere near the College campus that day!
“The news of Mr Echetama’s sad demise was particularly shocking to the entire College community when the news filtered in around 8:00 am that he had passed on and that the corpse had been brought to the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.
“The news was blisteringly incredible to members of the College community, who still saw Mr Echetama in his usual bonhomie and ebulience at work the previous day.
“He submitted his examination questions to his Head of Department the previous day and, while driving home after work, still exchanged pleasantries with his Dean and other College officials on College Task-Force duties at the College gate.
“Receiving the news of the demise of someone who was still at work with colleagues and very much active the previous day created a sense of incredulity and shock in the minds of College officials and colleagues who then rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, some
in a bid to confirm, some just out of concern, and some in the hope that it was all a
“As social beings who thrive on bonding and interactions, that is the way the human mind works in emergency situations.
“Mr Echetama’s friendly nature, which had endeared him to staff and students coupled with his celebrity status as a
Nollywood actor deepened the shock.
“Colleagues and students all broke down at the Federal Medical Centre on sighting the lifeless body of Mr Echetama still in the vehicle that brought him to the hospital.
The sight of the young wife screaming and pleading with almost everyone to do something to revive him was heartbreaking
“The distraught wife ran to a College official and said “Sir, tell him to get up; I know he will listen to you!
“I have been telling him to wake up since!”
“This was the sad story of death that got staff and students of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri staggering on Tuesday, 16th February, 2021.
“How anyone would want to make a COVID sensation out of a tragedy that almost bent the institution is what continues to beat us.
“The bereaved family and the entire Alvan community had not yet started recovering
from the shock of the previous day when this bizarre falsehood sneaked in to launch a
bitter assault on the sensibilities of the bereaved family and indeed of the entire Alvan community.
“This is not only unprofessional but most heartless and wicked.
“The College Management would like to assure the general public that the College is safe and that academic activities are going on smoothly in the College even as staff and
students are preparing for the Second Semester examinations.
“The activities of the College COVID-19 Response Team are top notch and all preventive protocols are being
observed and closely monitored throughout the College space.
“Management also wishes to plead with journalists to always resist the urge to spread click bait and misinformation, which can cause panic and ultimately jeopardize all efforts to control a raging public health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the meantime, the College hereby demands that the news platforms that carried this fake news should retract their damaging piece of yellow journalism within 48 hours. Otherwise, the College will explore the option of seeking legal redress.”