From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Students of the University of Abuja (UniAbuja) on Monday shut down the institution in protest, to register their discontent with certain decisions by the school management which they claim are unfavourable to them.
The students shut down the school as early as 7 am making it difficult for returning students, academic and non-academic staff as well as visitors to gain access into the campus for official engagements.
The students claimed the school management was insensitive and inconsiderate, particularly as regards payment of school fees and other academic activities in the school.
Armed with placards bearing several inscriptions, the students disrupted official activities for several hours until the intervention of the school management.
UniAbuja spokesman Dr Habib Yakoob, in a statement in response to the development, said students were unfair to school management in their protest action.
‘This morning, Monday 1st February 2021, at 7:30 am, some students blocked the main gate of the University, preventing other students and staff from gaining access into the campus,’ he explained.
‘The students said they were demanding the reopening and extension of school fees payment portal, cancellation of the late registration fee, and postponement of the examination till 8th of March, 2021.
‘The University Management had announced that, following the release of 2019/2020 academic calendar by the Senate of the University, the registration of students was to be done in four weeks.
‘Following the expiration of the process, the University closed the portal in February 2020, in line with the 2019/2020 academic calendar. After pleas from the students’ union, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, in his magnanimity, twice directed the reopening of the portal to accommodate students who didn’t register on time.
‘In the last one week, a couple of meetings were held with the students’ union which again demanded the re-opening of the portal. The University administration held an emergency meeting with the union on Sunday 31st January 2021 and considered their appeal.
‘Consequently, the portal was reopened on Sunday 31st January 2021 for registration, for another two weeks till February 14, 2021, and the students were duly informed.
‘Again, the late registration fee for those who had not paid their school fee as well as those who paid but did not register was waived; and late registration fee of N5, 000 was to be refunded to students who had earlier paid.
‘The University management, was, however, surprised that while so many of students were excited to be returning to campus after 10 months at home, they were held back by some elements who are protesting the same issue that had already been addressed by the University.’
The university appealed to all law-abiding students not to join in disrupting the 2019/2020 academic calendar, considering the amount of time lost to the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and COVID-19 pandemic; and that it is putting all necessary measures in place to address this unfortunate development.