Why Education Minister can’t wade into UniAbuja crisis- aide

Minister Of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa'I

The aide said the minister doesn’t want to take a rash decision

The Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, has not acted on the crisis rocking the University of Abuja because she is waiting for a White Paper on a report by a committee that investigated the university.

This was stated by a top official and aide to the minister in Abuja on Thursday, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

“I assure you that the minister is not keeping silent; she is awaiting the White Paper on the report of the 37-man Presidential Committee she set up on the university.

“Anyone found culpable in this crisis would face the music,’’ the official said.

The official said the report would form the nucleus on which any action could be taken.

“The minister feels bad about what is happening in the institution, but does not want to take any decision that could be considered rash,” he said.

According to the source, the minister had initially thought the issues could be addressed before they spiraled into their present state; “but it is obvious that the politics of that university is more than the institution itself.”

The official attributed the lingering crisis to lack of adequate information between management, staff and students.

“If they had managed information well within the university system, things could not have degenerated into their present state,” the official noted.

The source, however, said the National Universities Commission (NUC), though shared part of the blame for the deterioration of the crisis, was trying to intervene in it.

A committee set up by the education ministry over the university had indicted the school’s management of incompetence and maladministration in its report.

The university was shut down indefinitely on Tuesday following two days of protest by students over the non-accreditation of some courses and faculties in the institution.

The students began the protest on Monday following the inability of the university management to meet up with the six months period given to it to accredit some of its courses. The courses are engineering, medicine and veterinary medicine.

In a circular on Tuesday, the Registrar, Mohammed Moddibo, said the closure followed protests by students of the institution. He directed the students to vacate their hostels before 4 p.m., adding that the move would ensure security of lives and property in the university.

By Wednesday morning, the University authorities brought in soldiers into student hostels to chase out and flog students who were yet to vacate their hostels.

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