Barely one week after students of Bauchi State-owned Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP) embarked on a violent protest, students of another state-owned Aliko Dangote College of Nursing Sciences on Monday embarked on a peaceful protest demanding that the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Ibrahim Kashim Mohammed should steer clear of the affairs of the College which is an independent institution.
The students during the protest blocked the Ran road causing a temporary halt of vehicular movement in order to express their grievances over what they described as incessant interference in the affairs of the College by the SSG.
One of the student leaders who spoke to Journalists in anonymity alleged that the SSG has continued to direct the affairs of the College from his office to the detriment of its development.
He further alleged that the office of the SSG only recently directed for the reinstatement of the former Provost of the College, Rakiya Saleh as Acting Provost after the expiration of her tenure.
The student leader opined that the procedure followed in her appointment did not follow due process considering the fact that based on the laws regulating the College, it is the Deputy Provost who should act until a new Provost is appointed, expressing surprise at the turn of events.
He, therefore, declared that the appointment of Rakiya Saleh as the Acting Provost is unacceptable to the student body and therefore wants it reversed in order to allow the Deputy Provost, Mallam Haruna Burra to continue to act until a new Provost is appointed.
Also speaking to Journalists, one of the branch officials of the Nigeria Nurse Educators Union, Comrade Funmilayo Abubakar said that “The reason for the protest is that several times when we had issues with the management, we will complain, organize ourselves but along the line, one among us will go by the side and ask the lecturers to sign against our meeting. That was the reason I said, today I will never call any of them, I will join the students all alone.”
“The problem we have is that her tenure expired on 6th July 2022, we, therefore, want due process to be followed in appointing a new Provost. We have a constitution guiding this College which says that when a tenure expires, an acting Provost will be appointed and it must be the Deputy Provost who should act,” she added.
She further narrated that indeed Deputy Provost, Mallam Haruna Burra was appointed as Deputy Provost and she handed it over to him, “but to our greatest surprise, this morning we came to the school and we were told that, with due respect to the office of the SSG, we should leave sentiments aside, the SSG should leave us alone, this is not a political office, it is an institution.”
Funmilayo Abubakar stressed that “The SSG always must interfere in our affairs and said that they should reverse one thing or another, we are sick and tired of that, he should manage the political office he was appointed to manage political office holders. We are not saying that the Governing Council is not there, it is there to represent us but not allowed to do their work because every day they must interfere.”
According to her, “As contained in the laws of the College, the position must be advertised for interested candidates, that is the due process which must be followed. Her tenure just finished this 6th of July, why is the SSG giving instruction to the Head of Service when we are answerable to the Ministry of Health, he should allow them to do their job. We are sick and tired.”
While speaking about the protest, the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the College, Hamza Abubakar said that the situation has been brought under control as the students have gone back inside the premises.
He said that “We were called for a meeting at the Ministry of Health this morning (Monday) and briefed that Rakiya Saleh, former Provost is coming back as the Acting Provost of the College based on a verbal directive from the office of the SSG. That is all I can tell you.”
The Deputy Provost Mallam Haruna Burra who was acting before now corroborated the development saying that he was invited to a meeting at the Ministry of Health where he was verbally directed to hand over back to Rakiya Sale as the Acting Provost based on a directive from the office of the SSG.
When probed further he simply said that “I am a civil servant, and I am ready to obey directives. I am preparing my handover notes and Insha Allah, I will do that very soon to hand over to her, in fact, the only thing that is delaying me is the financial records because the development came suddenly.”
All efforts to get a reaction from the former Acting Provost, Rakiya Saleh proved abortive as her phone was switched off as of the time of filing the report.