The authorities of the Umaru Yar’Ádua University, Katsina, have denied discriminating against Christian students in the approval granted a students religious association to operate on its campus.
The Acting Dean of Student Affairs of the University, Sulaiman Kankara, had in January 17 memo informed students of a new guideline for the registration of clubs and associations in the institution.
In the circular, Dr. Kankara indicated that participation in clubs and associations, including departmental ones, were strictly optional and that no student should be compelled to pay dues.
He also outlawed the formation of tribal and local government associations in the university.
But the controversial part of the memo which made the document to go viral was the dean’s pronouncement that the “Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) is the only religious association allowed to operate on campus.”
After the memo was shared on social media, the university came under ferocious attacks from many Nigerians, with some commentators saying the guideline was part of government’s plot to Islamise Nigeria.
But when contacted on Sunday morning, Dr. Kankara said that aspect of the guideline was actually targeted at Islamic groups which were beginning to mushroom on campus, creating division among students of the same faith.
The dean said, “Actually there is one misconception in the memo. But the fact of the matter is that in Umaru Yar’Ádua University, there is no association known as Christian Students Association.
“There is one religious association and subsidiary Islamic students associations like the Tijjanniya Students Movement in Nigeria, Academic Forum of Islamic Movement in Nigeria and many associations like that.
“They are Islamic students association. So what we want is to have a single union which will be the mouthpiece of muslim students and that is the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria.
“It has nothing to do with any Christian group because up till now, I have not received any application requesting registration of Christian Students Society.
“And once they do that, we are ready to register them. Even as at last week, we said the two religious group to be recognised by the university will be the Muslim one and one from Christian side.
“Up till now we are to receive any application for the registration of any Christian association in the university from any group.”