Kukah Slams Nigerian Universities, Says They’re Promoting Ethnic, Religious Biases

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, has slammed  universities in Nigeria, saying they were increasingly promoting ethnic and religious biases.

 Kukah stated this in an interview with Arise TV yesterday.
The cleric slammed what he described as a worrying trend of declining diversity and meritocracy in Nigerian universities, particularly in Northern Nigeria.
“A mosque was constructed at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I delivered a convocation lecture in Calabar three weeks ago. After my lecture, the Chief Imam of the University came to congratulate me.

“But as I speak to you, Usman Dan Fodio, who is over 40 years old, Bayero University, and other universities in Northern Nigeria have decided to close their doors to the possibility of churches being built in the universities across this country.

“All this fanaticism we are seeing is expressed in public life. If students in the university or at the point of their growing up are not allowed to integrate and interrelate, and if churches or mosques cannot be built across this country, then there is a problem,” he said.
He explained that diversity and meritocracy, in Nigerian universities, had continued to diminish, while ethnic and religious considerations were gaining prominence.

Consequently, he said, “There was a time when Ahmadu Bello University had lecturers from different parts of the world. Now, look at what has happened to our universities across Nigeria. Our universities have become just mere incubators of ethnic jingoism.

“So, I do not know which funded federal university that you will name that has a Vice Chancellor that is not a local boy.
“So the universities themselves have become playgrounds for the ambitions of the local elite. The question is, why should a place of worship be a problem for a university? Whether it is for the Muslim students in Calabar or the Christian students in Sokoto.

“I approached the Minister of Education about this. I have a letter from the Nigerian University Commission. The universities in northern Nigeria have refused to implement this recommendation,” he said.

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