UNIMAID Closure: Minister, VC disagree

There was disagreement between the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri on Frieday over closure of the institution as a result of frequent suicide attacks which have claimed many lives.

While the minister was in favour of closing down the institution to avoid further loss of lives and property, the institution’s management is not, to avoid sending a signal to the international community that Boko Haram is succeeding.

Adamu, accompanied by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rashid and the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Professor Isahaq Oloyede, was in Maiduguri to condole with the institution over the death of five members of its staff and the continued disappearance of four others among the oil exploration team who were recently attacked by insurgents.

“We thought the danger is too great,” he said, “I would have told you to stay, but security is not in my hands, closing it is just being realistic and it doesn’t mean succumbing to Boko Haram and sending the signal that they have succeeded.”

Addressing the senate and management of the institution, the minister faced the gathering and called for opinion votes over the issue, but none of the members of the senate and management responded, following which the minister advised them to consider his opinion.

However, when newsmen asked him while he was being conducted round the university’s borders whether the federal government was planning to close down the university, he replied repeatedly: “No plan.”

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar Njodi, commended the resilience of the university’s Senate, saying: “These individuals deserve special recognition, they deserve the National Merit Award for keeping the university intact throughout its travails.”

Responding, the minister said, “We marvel at the way you (the management and students of the university) stay here, I commend the lecturers and students for staying in the university, it shows their seriousness, and we are aware of this.” He said the federal government would come up with a special intervention, beginning with the perimeter fencing of the remaining 23 kilometers of its landmass.

Njodi faults military on NNPC staff rescue

In another development, Professor Njodi yesterday faulted the military’s claim that that it had rescued oil workers who were recently ambushed and captured by Boko Haram fighters. He said during a condolence visit by officials of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum that he could not understand why the Nigerian Army misled the world with such claims.

“The military said it has rescued all the geologists working for NNPC. I wonder how the recovery of corpses be referred to as being rescued,” he said.

Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, had said Wednesday that soldiers had rescued the kidnapped officials. “So far, they (troops) have rescued all the NNPC staff and recovered the corpses of the officer, 8 soldiers and a civilian who have been deposited at the 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital,” he said.

Prof. Njodi said:“We have lost four vibrant members of our academic staff in that incident. None of the affected lecturers put in less than ten years in the university. For me to get a replacement for them would be difficult. We are all at liberty to guess now as to whether security was provided or not,” he said.

Some geologists and their aides from the university were subcontracted by the NNPC. Njodi said the institution had been engaged in consultancy services to the NNPC in the Lake Chad region. A brother of the vice chancellor was said to be among those killed.

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