By Amos Aar
THE BENUE State University BSU), Makurdi, on Monday suspended all 200-600 medical students of the College of Health Sciences of the institution for carrying out a peaceful protest against over poor welfare.
National Record gathered that the total number of medical students affected by what has been described as tyrannical decision by the university authority is over 450.
The students had last week, Wednesday, October 25, 2023 staged a peaceful march to the Government House, Makurdi to draw the attention of the state governor, who is also the Visitor of the institution, to alleged poor attention to the welfare of medical students by the university’s authority.
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The students cited inadequate hostels, unjustified withdrawal of some of their colleagues and indiscriminate introduction of prospectus and perennial water scarcity, amongst other issues.
A memo from the Office of the Registrar of the institution, dated October 30, 2023, obtained by National Record late Monday evening, indicates that the mass suspension of the students is effective from 8am, Monday, October 30, 2023 to Wednesday, November 29, 2023.
The memo stated that the management committee of the College of Health Sciences has been directed to set up an investigative committee to look into the remote and immediate causes of the peaceful protest and advise as appropriate.
The top management committee of the College of Health Sciences is also directed to implement the resolutions of the reports of the various committees on the students’ peaceful march.
“On resumption, each student should bring a sworn affidavit from a competent court of law, attesting of good conduct. Each student should also come with his/her parent/guardian who will sign an undertaking,” the memo added.
National Record had reported how the students stage the peaceful protest to Government House seeking the attention of the governor.
Although Governor Hyacinth Alia was not available to receive and address the students over their grouse, his Chief of Staff, Mr Paul Biam, however addressed them, promising that additional hostels would be built at BSU to ease accommodation challenge. He also assured that all other issues presented would be addressed.
In his initial reaction to the protest, Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Joe Iorpuu, described the protest as avoidable, pointing out that the university’s authority had set up a committee that was already looking into the issues and was set to submit its report.
“I want to believe that they will be responsible. They have listened to the Chief of Staff and we expect them to be truly responsible,” Prof Iorpuu said.
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It is not clear if the ‘harsh and tyrannical’ order of the institution’s Registrar for the mass suspension of the students has the endorsement of the Vice Chancellor or the state governor, since the students march was reportedly very peaceful and conducted in absolute decorum.