From Abdullahi Hassan, Zaria
No fewer than 50 armed security personnel allegedly from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, stormed National Board for Arabic and Islamic Studies (NBAIS), examination centre located at Gaskiya Road in Zaria, few days ago, chased away private guards and later took over the property.
ABU management claimed that the property was leased out to NBAIS some years ago, and the action was to forcefully take over the property since the board that were hitherto occupying the property was unwilling to peacefully release it after the intention was communicated formally to the registrar.
NBAIS Registrar, Prof. Muhammad Shafi`u Abdullahi, told newsmen that available report indicated that the team of security men were from ABU, accompanied by armed mobile policemen did the damage.
He confirmed that the invasion may be connected to the dispute between ABU and NBAIS as regards the property which was leased out to the board as a takeoff secretariat some years ago, even though efforts have been ongoing to peacefully resolve the problem.
Abdullahi : “The property in contention was provided by ABU some years ago to serve as temporary secretariat for NBAIS for unspecified period. We converted the property to our examination operations centre shortly after we moved to our permanent site in Kaduna.
“We had earlier followed all procedures required for acquisition of the property, and details have been formalized to ensure effective operations. But we are surprised by the recent actions of ABU management which led to destruction of office equipments.”
He confirmed that ABU wrote to NBAIS recently that they want to take over the property, “but we replied with highlights of the agreement reached with the former management of the university as regards the property, but they chose to ignore, and rather invade our premises and destabilized our examination arrangement.”
The NBAIS boss regretted that efforts by the board to meet with the Vice Chancellor for discussion on the contentious issues about the property have been unfruitful. “Nevertheless, it appeared the ABU management was only interested in forceful invasion of the premises. However, we have informed the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, about the development.
He added: “At a point, we requested a permission to construct a printing press as contained in our letter to the VC dated April 1st, 2019, with ref no: PP&MS/DC/02/19, which was granted.”
Meanwhile, the Director, Public Affairs of ABU, Auwal Umar, explained that the action to forcefully reclaim the property was sequel to the failure of the NBAIS to willingly release the property after several efforts made by the university to that effect.
ABU statement reads: “The decision was also partly informed by inadequacies of teaching and learning facilities in our campuses, as a result of the ever increasing number of students as being experienced in our university.
“Additionally, the university is desirous of recovering all its properties and putting them to use for its overall sustainability. It’s estimated that more than N100 billion is needed by the university for infrastructural development and other needs of the ever-growing institution.”
He acknowledged that NBAIS was given sufficient notice of ABU’s intention to recover its property, as was communicated to the Registrar of NBAIS in a letter of notice dated May 18th, 2020, which expired on August 18th, 2020, thus allowing ABU to promptly take possession of the property.
Umar, further disclosed that some units of the institution in dire of facility have been asked to move to the premises, noting that the university Governing Council was informed about development.