UNIABUJA Students Blame Lecturers For School’s Closure

Harrison Iyoha

Students of the University of Abuja, UNIABUJA, Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital, have blamed the institution’s lecturers for the action which led to the indefinite closure of the school.

The authorities of the university, Monday, shut the school over protests staged by the students who were alleged to have planned to lynch the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor James Adelabu at home.

In separate interviews with P.M.NEWS Campus Square, the students stated that had their lecturers been more discreet in their dealings with the university’s Vice Chancellor over their purported salary arrears, they would not have had the crisis.

Professor James Adelabu, VC, University of Abuja

Ruth, a 300-level Biology student opined that there are many questions yet to be answered by the management.

“We do not know who to believe because we heard different stories concerning what led to the protest. The students have been patient enough because we never wanted the situation to degenerated into what we are experiencing now.

“When we spoke they were never ready to listen to us ,so we had to do what they understand. At first we pleaded with them to allow us finish our exams. I believe the lecturers are having issues with the VC because he is asking for  six months extension for him to remain in office till December.”

Another student in 200-level, who simply gave her name as Damilola, told our reporter that the issue at hand is beyond the students as the lecturers and VC are at crossroads.

“There was nothing like burning down the VC’s house. The students went to the staff quarters to register their displeasure with the hide and seek game between the lecturers and the VC.We went there to find out the truth but they turned it against us, claiming we came to burn down the VC’s apartment.

“When we went to meet the VC to find out the true situation of things, he told us there was nothing to hide since he has records to back up his claims. He said that he could provide us with documents with which he used in paying the lecturers’ salaries up to date.

“The VC said that the lecturers were only demanding promotional arrears,” she said.

Damilola also added that, “I just hope they open the school soon because I don’t want to stay at home  doing nothing.I wish they allowed us finish our second semester exams before the closure. I will return to Lagos to rest  until the issue is resolved”.

Abdulazeez Abdurahamon, a 100 level Biology student of the institution, also told our reporter that the problem is between the school’ ASUU chapter and the VC.

He said: “When this isuue came up on Monday, our VC told the aggrieved lecturers to seek a redress in a court of law if they think they have a case against him.The lecturers reportedly claimed not to have been paid by the VC since 2010.”

The students  protested the indefinite strike declared by the Abuja branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), over non-remittance of check-off dues and other arrears allegedly owed the unions since 2010.

The students took over streets in Gwagwalada area of Abuja, where the Mini Campus of the university is located and barricaded the ever-busy Abuja-Lokoja expressway from where they were said to have marched to the Vice Chancellor’s residence.

After another protest staged at the university staff quarters ,an official statement from the office of the Vice-Chancellor after  the protest, stated: “All students are to vacate the hostels and university premises immediately. Further developments on the matter would be communicated in due course”.

At the main campus of the school, notice was placed in all departments and hostels ordering every student to leave the school compound immediately.

Tear gas canisters were reportedly shot in the air to enforce the students’ eviction from the hostels and the mini campus and many of them  were seen packing their luggage preparing to leave.It was reported that as the “BringBackOurExams” protest was heating up, some students that were still within the school mini campus were chased out.