Muhammad Abdullazeez, vice-chancellor of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, says more than 30 students were taking selfies on the pedestrian bridge before it collapsed three days ago.
On Monday, a metallic bridge connecting the hostels and lecture halls collapsed as a result of severe flooding that ensued after a heavy downpour.
Five students were reportedly killed while many others injured.
Consequently, the management of the varsity announced a temporary closure of school activities to honour the students who lost their lives to the incident.
Speaking on Wednesday, when he received Bala Mohammed, the state governor, who paid him a condolence visit to the Gubi campus of the institution, the VC blamed the students for overwhelming the bridge while taking selfies.
According to him, the bridge had the capacity to hold only 15 persons at a time and was not constructed to bear static loads. He added that the students, however, assembled on the bridge for selfies.
“The management felt that it was necessary to construct a metal bridge for between 10 and 15 people at a time. It was not meant for static loads but for dynamic loads, that means, you don’t stand on it, you just pass,” he said.
“The reports we received from some of the students were that when the rain had stopped and the students were about crossing, they found the scene excellent for them to take selfies.
“So they started from two and before you could realise it, there were more than 30 students on the bridge standing, and that bridge was not meant for people to stand.
“Some of the students could not pass and had to also stand, and the bridge suddenly collapsed and that was how we lost three students. As of today, we don’t have any student missing.”
He also refuted claims that the casualties were four and many others are still missing.
“Based on our records, no student is missing for now. Three students –two from Kogi State and one from Benue State – were confirmed dead. Two females and a male and they were all from the department of business education and management studies,” he explained.