The Limkokwing University of Creative Technology campus in Cyberjaya, Malaysia suspended classes on Friday in honour of the dead Nigerian student, Thomas Orhionsefe Ewansiha.
A university spokesperson described Ewansiha as a ‘beloved student’ and stoutly denied classes were suspended because of fears of a mass protest.
Ewansiha, 33, died Tuesday while in immigration detention after he was arrested along with 18 others.
Limkokwing University’s head of communications Maizura Mahathir confirmed with Malay Mail that the suspension announced in a circular sent out earlier today was official, and made in the memory of Nigerian Thomas Orhionsefe Ewansiha, who was studying for his PhD in management at its Cyberjaya campus.
“Yes, classes were suspended today, but not because of the supposed gathering, but in memory of one of our students who passed away.
“Also, now is actually the semester break for most students, where there are only a few classes that were supposed to go on for the masters degree programme,” she said.
The private university’s vice-chancellor Professor K. Ramanathan extended his condolences to Ewansiha’s wife and two young children.
“Our sympathies are for the family as he has two children, so that is our saddest moment,” he said when met on campus this afternoon.
Ramanathan said the university was notified of Ewansiha’s death by the Nigerian High Commission.
He also said rumours that there would be a demonstration on campus to protest the 33-year-old Nigerian’s death had proven untrue.
He added that the university had taken precautions to ensure no untoward incident will take place on its grounds, after being alerted to the rumoured mass gathering by students.
“Well you can see there is no gathering. The situation is well under control, and there is no problem here.
“We were told by our students but we took all the precautions necessary, like any public place. We have to take precaution towards any untoward incident,” he said.
Ramanathan said the university has about 100 Nigerians enrolled at the Cyberjaya campus.
Also present at the news conference was Limkokwing University’s senior vice-president of corporate development Datuk Gail Phung.
A worker at the university who wished to remain anonymous told Malay Mail that the security team was asked to enhance its guard on campus today, not for any gathering but in anticipation of a certain VIP’s arrival.