Academic activities were on Wednesday paralysed at the University of Abuja (UniAbuja) following students’ protest over alleged plan to merge two departments in the Faculty of Engineering.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN reported that at both the mini campus and permanent site of the institution movement in and out of the campuses were restricted, as the protesting students had locked the gates.
Hundreds of armed policemen were deployed to man the gates at the mini and permanent sites of the university. Students were seen in groups trekking out of the campuses, as the movement of motorcycle operators within the campus were also restricted. Clashes between the students and the police also left some students injured.
Some of the students who spoke to NAN faulted the move by the university management to merge the Departments of Electrical Engineering with that of Civil Engineering on grounds of high cost of accreditation.A 500-level student, who did not want to be named, accused the Vice Chancellor, Prof. James Adelabu, of not being fair to students of the Faculty of Engineering.He argued that the accreditation problem was not caused by the students, “and I do not see why students should bear the brunt.”He also faulted Adelabu’s claim that the institution had no money for the accreditation of the four departments in the faculty within the six months agreed with the Federal Ministry of Education.
“When we got hints of the development, we confronted the vice chancellor and what he told us was that the move to collapse the two departments emanated from the faculty and not from his office.”
The move by the university management to merge the Departments of Civil with that of Electrical Engineering and to make 500 level students in the fused departments to start from 300 levels was not in the interest of students.
“The student, therefore, urged the university management to expedite action toward ensuring that more lecturers were recruited to teach in the two departments to avoid further problems in the university.
“It is unfortunate that the university management is complaining at this time after running a faculty for five years. It says it has no money to recruit enough lecturers and provide the structure needed for accreditation.”
Mr Waziri Garba, the Information Officer of the university, blamed the protest on the leakage of the accreditation panel report which recommended that the departments be merged. He appealed to the students to be calm, adding that the university management had not deliberated on the report.Garba said the university management was fully committed to the interests of the students and would protect it at all times.He assured them that the six months period given to the Vice Chancellor for the accreditation of the faculties would not be exceeded.
Meanwhile, some students were injured at the mini campus of the university, following clash between the protesting students and the policemen deployed to beef up security at the campuses.