Federal University Wukari Shut down as Tiv, Jukun Crisis Claims Three Students, Staff


George Okoh in Makurdi and Wole Ayodele in Jalingo

The Federal University of Wukari, Taraba State, has been shut down by the university authorities following a protest by students over the abduction and killing of three of their colleagues and a staff of the institution in the lingering crisis between Tiv and Jukun tribes.

This is coming as the Benue State Government wednesday evacuated over 812 students from the university.

Three students of the school and a staff were abducted on Wukari-Katsina Ala road last Tuesday and were eventually killed by their abductors.

The incident triggered a massive protest by students of the institution forcing the university authorities to suspend academic activities and shut down the school.

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Abubakar Kundiri, who approved the suspension of academic activities and closure of the institution yesterday in a statement signed by the school Registrar, Mr. Magaji Gangumi, in Wukari, noted that the suspension has become imperative.

According to him, “The Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Wukari has approved the suspension of lectures and closure of the institution till further notice. This follows the protest by students over the kidnap of their colleagues on Wukari -Katsina Ala highway last Tuesday.

“Students are therefore directed to vacate the hostels and the university premises by or before 12 noon on Wednesday.”

Meanwhile, the Benue State Government yesterday evacuated over 812 students from the university.

The state Commissioner for Education, Professor Dennis Ityavyar, who stated this while speaking with journalists in his office, explained that the action became necessary when Benue students in the institution were attacked by suspected Jukun militias.

Ityavyar said 15 buses, among them four Marco Polo, are expected to convey more than 60 students back home.

He stated that the buses were accompanied by a detachment of troops of Operation Whirl Stroke, adding that the students would be dropped in designated points, including Katsina-ala, Ugbema in Buruku Local Government Area and Makurdi, the state capital.

“As a government, we are concerned about the security of our citizens. That is why the state Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, has appealed to security operatives in Taraba Stateto ensure the safety of the students. But before our action, we learnt that the Chairman of Ukum LGA, Tor-tyokyaa Ibellogo, had made arrangements and provided six buses to bring some students to Jootar, a border town between Benue and Taraba States. The state government has further made adequate arrangement for transport fares to be given to each students to enable them return safely to their parents,” he said.

On claims that two students of Benue extraction were killed, the education commissioner said the rumor was yet to be confirmed even as he lamented bitterly over the incident noting that it has the tendency to thwart further educational pursuit of the students in the institution.

“It is indeed a sorry situation. It poses a big challenge on safety and security of the lives of students. We should note that it is not an internal crisis but external aggression against the students. Hence, it is paramount that educational institutions make security sacred. However, spite of the crisis, Benue and Taraba State governments are committed to ensuring peace at the borders for the safety of their citizens,” Ityavyar maintained.=