Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Anger Of The Students

Students of North Central University, Otukpo vent their anger against the authorities over the blacklisting of the university by National Universities Commission, NUC

By Sunday Ogli

The closure of fake and unlicensed universities in the country is already having a backlash effect. Students of North Central University, Otukpo, one of the universities closed down by government, September 10 vent their anger on the university for what they termed the deception of the authorities of the university.

The university, which opened its doors to students in February this year, attracted candidates mainly from the southern part of the country. But since the announcement by the National Universities Commission, NUC that some universities in the country are operating without valid license, all has not been the same between the students and the university authorities. Every attempt by the students to clarify the status of the institution from the authorities has been met with rebuff. It is therefore not surprising that the North Central University was one of blacklisted universities for failing to meet the requirements, in a recent publication by NUC. This elicited the anger of the students. They wrecked several damages to some of the facilities in the institution. Locks were forcefully destroyed and several documents, including admission forms scattered. Dr. Francis Adah, the coordinator escaped from being lynched by the demonstrating students. The students later went to the Otukpo police station to register their anger; they were however denied access by police authorities. Their effort to get to Innocent Onuh, the chairman of Otukpo local government area also failed as security agents at the gate of the secretariat equally denied them entry.

Adah told Newsworld on phone that the situation was under control. He said he had given the students a four-week vacation to enable him rectify some of the problems facing the institution, adding that he was working towards the registration of another university, Middle Belt University with the NUC since the existing one is causing problems for him. But Eugene Aliegba, Benue State commissioner of Education told Newsworld that the institution was operating illegally. He alleged that some of the lecturers are not even qualified to teach in secondary schools. Newsworld gathered that Adah paid N1 million to the Benue state ministry of education but the commissioner claimed that the registration was done through the back door. The receipt was allegedly issued by Dr. Awambe Nule, director of Tertiary Education in the ministry.

This magazine gathered that Adah was arrested and charged to court when officials of the NUC came to Otukpo to close down the school. He was granted bail but later rearrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and subsequently detained in Kuje prison.

Reports of Adah's activities made available to this magazine by an EFCC official indicated that the purported approval by the NUC is false. An official of the NUC was said to be behind the deal. Adah believed to have used monies realised from the students for personal advantage instead of providing facilities at the university. He is also alleged to have three cars, one of them a Mercedes V Boot with registration number Benue AA 980 PKG.

It seems that Benue state has become a haven for fake universities. Apart from the North Central University, other blacklisted universities in the state are Sunday Adokpela University located in Adoka and Samuel Ahmadu University in Makurdi. However, authorities of Samuel Ahmadu University said it should not be classified among unregistered universities. In a radio announcement in Makurdi, the university authorities said it has not started academic activities and threatened legal action against NUC if it attempts blacklist the institution.

Some students of the blacklisted North Central University stated they were deceived by the name to believe that the university was owned by states in the north central region. Most of them were already home-bound when Newsworld met them but one of them from Kogi State, who pleaded anonymity told the magazine: “I cannot go home because I don't know what to tell my mother. She was happy over my admission. I find it difficult to tell her anything about the present development. She is hypertensive and it might worsen her condition.”

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