The university boss also questioned the state of emergency in Adamawa.
The President of the American University of Nigeria, Yola, Margee Ensign, said no expatriate staff or student of the University has left the institution due to the State of Emergency imposed on the state by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ms. Ensign was reacting to a report credited to Governor Murtala Nyako who was quoted as saying many foreign lecturers and staff are leaving the state due to the emergency rule.
Mr. Nyako, who spoke on a live radio programme in Yola on Saturday was reported to have said, “Many foreign lecturers and staff in the popular American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola are leaving because of this development (the emergency rule declaration).”
Ms. Ensign said in a statement on Tuesday that “Governor Murtala Nyako’s comments in the story are completely inaccurate. Not only are we running our regular summer school with very high attendance, no faculty member or staff has left AUN because of the ‘state of emergency.’ In fact, over 4,000 people–including the Ambassadors of the United States, the European Union, Rwanda and Ireland–attended our 5th commencement ceremony on May 11th, three days before the state of emergency was announced. We are also continuing our important development work in the community in literacy, IT and with the Adamawa Peacemakers Initiative that the University founded in January 2012.”
The statement added that AUN’s 5th commencement ceremony attracted over 4,000 guests, which included four globally distinguished diplomats and an accomplished American journalist, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who served as Commencement Speaker. The diplomats included: US Ambassador, Terrence McCulley; EU Ambassador, David Macrae; Irish Ambassador, Patrick Fay; and High Commissioner Joseph Habineza of Rwanda whose country has 17 scholarship students at AUN.
“If there were any security concerns in Yola, none of these VIPs would have ventured to come,” it said.
University shocked by Jonathan’s declaration
The university also said it was shocked by the emergency declaration; as Yola, the Adamawa capital, had been peaceful.
“Several days later, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Adamawa and two other northeast states. It took all of Adamawa residents by surprise because the state is the safest in the north east region,” she said
She added that “despite the emergency rule, Yola has been orderly, calm, and peaceful.”
The statement said the graduation activity and the beginning of summer break naturally increased movements in and out of Yola airport.
AUN’s summer session began on May 16 and a very high percentage of students have returned for summer classes. As usual, the two summer semesters are being facilitated by AUN’s globally diverse faculty drawn from US, UK, Singapore, India, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Canada, Kenya, and more. This summer’s enrollment is approximately the same percentage that has attended previous summers.
“To date, no faculty members have stated they are not retuning because of the state of emergency. Those who are not teaching in summer have naturally gone on their normal vacations until Summer 2 which starts in July or the fall 2013 semester,” the statement noted.
It said the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed is effective in Yola, as elsewhere in the region, but does not threaten the university community in any way.
“As a matter of fact, many have been coming to AUN to process admissions, having received their children’s/wards’ UTME results,” it said.