By Ummi Ismaeel-Minna
Authorities at the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna, have shifted the resumption date earlier scheduled for March 18, 2017 due to the inability of the school management and the students to agree on the terms.
The FUT, Minna was shut down on Wednesday, February 16, 2017 when students protested the death of their colleague, a 300 level Chemistry Education student, Yeye Emmanuel Olalekan, whom they believed died out of negligence by staff on duty at the clinic.
The late Yeye slumped while playing football at the Bosso campus football field and was rushed to the clinic where he was not treated by officials on duty.
The situation on campus is cloudy as most students are yet to come to terms with the demands by the school authority that each student of about 17, 000 population must pay or on resumption the sum of N4, 950 for properties damaged before they are allowed into the campus.
The school authority in a circular from the office of the Registrar, Mrs. Victoria Kolo, had hinted that the extension in resumption date was to enable management repair and replace properties damaged during the protest over the death of Yeye on February 15, 2017.
The statement in part reads, “The students have been mandated to pay N4, 950 and bring an undertaking which must be signed by their parents and supported with a sworn court affidavit that they must be of good behaviour”.
Other conditions before any student could be acceptable into campus included, “The payments must be between March 4th and 11th through the university portal. Students should submit to the appropriate school secretaries, evidence of payment, letter of undertaken and court affidavit”.
The statement from the Registrar’s office which however did not state categorically when the school will be resuming for academic activities also cautioned students to remain in their respective homes as the university gates will still be closed.
But last Thursday, a collection of students at the Bosso campus protested against the fine imposed on them by the management in front of the university, insisting that even if they are to pay anything, the N4, 950 is on the high side if it was meant to repair the damages and again, considering the harsh economic realities in the country.
Some of the students interviewed argued that the properties destroyed which the school authorities claimed the money would be used for could not cost more than N25 million as against the nearly N77 million the institution was asking the students to cough out.
“The fine of N4, 950 per student the school is asking us to pay when multiplied by over 17,000 student population it would amount to well over N76 million, are they trying to use us to make money for them or what? One of the students queried”
“What is the rationale and barometer used in arriving at the fines?”
The students argued just as they expressed worry that the school authorities have kept sealed lips over what led to the protest, which was the death of Yeye.
“We only heard the university authority’s assurance of full scale investigations to ascertain the cause of Olalekan's death but nothing has been heard about that again and now they are asking us to pay N4, 950 each as damages. Is the money also meant to bring our colleague back to life?
The students said they are also miffed that results of the autopsy report the school claimed will be out and made public to them is not yet out.
“We are still aggrieved and agitated over the policy of the institution that insists that all sick students must be in possession of the university's student's identity card before they could be attended to at the institution's health care facilities”, how possible is it for an unconscious person to carry ID card?