The withdrawal of students from ABU confirms loss of confidence in the authorities to protectthe citizens in the face of danger.
Following the crisis that recently rocked Kaduna State, 80 students of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria were evacuated from the campus by their states of origin without the knowledge of the university authority.
According to the vice chancellor, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, the governments of Rivers and Jigawa states “whisked away 80 students of the university in suspicious manner” while the institution had already alerted the federal government of the development.
In a statement, spokesman to the VC said: “Rivers and Jigawa State governments have whisked away 80 students of our university in a suspicious manner on Friday and Saturday, June 22 and 23.
Four buses belonging to the Jigawa State government with armed mobile police escort forced their way into the Kongo campus of the university where the state’s students numbering 50 were whisked away.
The Rivers State government, too, on Saturday committed a similar trespass and illegally evacuated students from the state in a 40-seater bus....”
While we understand why the authorities of both Jigawa and Rivers States may want to protect indigenes of their states, especially vulnerable students who are trapped in a crisis situation, there is an appearance of politicking in the whole scenario given the manner in which it was done.
Besides, the university authorities ought to have been informed of the decision before students were ferreted out of the campus.
But while we do not approve of the style adopted by these two states governments, the unauthorized students withdrawal is a minor infraction to the bigger issue of a threatened national security.
Because what the action of both the Rivers and Jigawa States represents is a far more serious evidence of loss of confidence in the ability of the authorities of both the university and the federal government to protect the students. That is what should be of concerns to the relevant authorities.
The genesis to the withdrawal of students by both the Jigawa and Rivers States governments was the bombing by Boko Haram of churches in Zaria and Kaduna which led to reprisal attacks by some Christian youths.
The moral here is that when the government and the school authorities could not provide protection in the face of real and present and continuous threats, it is difficult to challenge the right of those who seek alternative means of protecting their citizens. We therefore hope the federal government will see the withdrawal of these students as a statement on the failure of the administration to put down the threat to its citizens in any part of the country.
The incidence also brings to fore the fact that on the security challenges facing the nation, too many questions remain unasked while some answers require further clarifications.
For instance, Nigerians were told the mastermind of the tragic Madala bombing was Kabiru Sokoto (who was arrested, allowed to escape and then re-arrested, all in dramatic fashion) before nothing was ever heard of him again.
Now the story is that the Madala bombing was the brain child of Habibu Bama, who reportedly died in detention less than 24 hours after he was announced to have been captured. Nigerians have also heard of several arrests of people in connection with some of the bombings yet nobody has been brought to court for trial.
What all these have done is to create a climate of uncertainty and fear which may have unwittingly provided a justification for some governors to take decision that may appear innocuous on the face value but with serious implications for our national unity. We hope the managers of our security can indeed get the message before the situation degenerates further.