Prof. Julius Okojie
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
Following a second day of protests by students of the Faculty of Engineering over the non-accreditation of courses, at the University of Abuja, authorities of the institution yesterday shut down the school to avoid a breakdown of law and order.
The aggrieved students were protesting their exclusion from the first semester examination, which the school authorities decided to shelve as it intensifies efforts to get the faculty accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and other relevant professional bodies.
The protesting students early yesterday blocked the entrance into the main campus of the school and some parts of the busy Gwagwalada-Airport Road.
They set fire to tyres and chanted solidarity songs. Soldiers manning a checkpoint close to the campus gate moved in to disperse the students.
The students were asked to vacate the school premises by tuesday evening. No formal announcement was made to this effect.
However, THISDAY gathered that the authorities are trying to salvage the situation by reaching out to the students through their leaders to avoid a major disruption of the academic calendar.
The Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie, said the commission is awaiting the official report detailing the happenings and the circumstances from the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Sunday Adelabu.
He added that the commission cannot react based on media reports.
Attempts to reach the Director of Information of the institution, Mr. Waziri Garba, failed as his mobile phone was switched off.
He had however told THISDAY on Monday that the university was taking concrete steps to ensure the accreditation of the suspended programmes which include human and veterinary medicine.
“The students felt management is not responding to their challenges, which is not true. We are working on the accreditation of the Engineering Faculty, just like for the other courses. The problem is that the other suspended courses had approval to be started, but they failed to meet the requirements for accreditation. Engineering is unique as it was not approved by the NUC in the first instance,” he had said.
Last April, the NUC had announced the suspension of the Faculties Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering and Agriculture for failing to meet up with accreditation requirements.
It later reversed the suspension of the Department of Agriculture.
The university has been engulfed in crises since then and the government soon set up a committee to look into the management of the school from inception, revealing a huge infrastructural deficit despite the huge funds that had been allocated to the school since inception.