Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’I
By Racheal Obewhere and Alex Enumah
Authorities of University of Abuja Wednesday closed down the institution following the disruption of activities within and outside the school premises over the suspension of four programmes in the university by the Federal Government.
The protest, which started at about 11 0'clock in the morning, according to findings, saw the students barricading the entire entrance leading to the university premises thereby obstructing traffic along the Lokoja- Abuja highway.
Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, last Tuesday announced the suspension of the four programmes in the institution.
According to her, the suspension of the programmes - medicine, agriculture, veterinary medicine and engineering - was based on the non-accreditation and absence of required facilities.
While announcing the suspension of the programmes, Rufa’i had noted: “They were hurriedly established without meeting requirements” adding that, “The university continues to offer these programmes against the National Universities Commission (NUC), directive on their closure in view of their denied accreditation status.
“Consequently, in order to protect the quality of our university education system, federal ministry of education hereby directs that the four programmes: medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering and agriculture are suspended forthwith while all new admissions into these programmes remain suspended”.
The university said the closure became necessary in order to avoid a situation where hoodlums and other miscreants would hijack the protest and cause havoc as a result of the current security situation in the country.
Soldiers and policemen drafted to the scene to disperse the irate students shot sporadically into the air to dislodge the crowd.
Although no life was lost or property destroyed during the protest, it was gathered that students from the department of engineering actually started the protest that virtually attracted other students from all the departments of the university.
It was learnt that the protesting students brought down the university main sign-post and that students were dispersed by soldiers who mounted road blocks on the high ways because of the Boko Haram threats.
When contacted, the Public Relation Officer of the university, Mallam Waziri Garuba, confirmed that the protest was in reaction to the suspension of their programmes by the federal government and that it was normal with students.