It was tragic day for the family, friends and coursemates of Sule Matthew, a fresh graduate of the Bayero University Kano (BUK) who was killed by unknown gunmen barely six months after leaving BUK as the best graduating student of the school’s Department of Information and Media Studies (IMS). Family, classmates share their thoughts with Daily Trust on the humble life Sule lived.
Sule did not only graduate with First Class in August 2021, but was also the overall best student among the pioneer set of IMS, the newly created department carved out of the old Mass Communication to form part of the three departments in the institution’s new Faculty of Communication.
- FG threatens to prosecute Nigerians bribing immigration officers for passports
- Amidst fuel scarcity, Nigerians decry widespread power outage
He was killed by yet-to-be identified gunmen two weeks ago alongside other passengers at Ekwulobia in Anambra State, while traveling to the state for a mission.
His death came a week before he was to report to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp for his mandatory one year national service.
Matthew’s death also struck his family seven months after his father died, a month before he graduated from the BUK.
In spite of the challenge of losing his father, Matthew was still able to graduate as the best student from the pioneer set of the new department.
An Igala by tribe, Matthew hailed from Anyigba in Kogi State.
According to his cousin and childhood friend, Isah Abdulmalik, they initially thought Sule was missing when his number became unreachable for days, before they later learned that he was mercilessly beaten to a coma, alongside other passengers and were eventually killed.
He said, “Two weeks ago, he called and told me that he was in Anyigba, heading to Anambra, but their car broke down, so he will spend a night here and leave for Anambra early in the morning.
“He told me that he was going to his boss’ occasion in Anambra, who was preparing to contest for House of Representatives in his constituency. In the evening, I tried calling him, but his number was not connecting, likewise the following day. It was on Tuesday morning that one of our cousins from Abuja called to inform Matthew’s mother that he was missing and his number was not going through.
“We kept calling and later reached out to some of my colleagues in Ekwulobia who confirmed to us that a car was attacked and people were killed, but only one person survived.
“They told us that after the attack, Matthew was beaten mercilessly and he ran into the bush, but they followed him and threw him into a gutter. We were optimistic that he was still alive, until I sent a friend who after seeing his picture confirmed to us that he was one of those killed and his corpse deposited at the Ekwulobia General Hospital mortuary,” Abdulmalik added.
‘He was humble, intelligent and hardly sleeps’
Abdulmalik also described Matthew as humble.
“Apart from being brilliant and very smart, he is also hardworking and doesn’t sleep. He sleeps for like three hours everyday, and stays awake most nights, making research. He was also a good team leader.”
He was about launching anti-kidnapping mobile application – Course mate
Salis Muhammad Manager, a course mate of the late Matthew, said he was about making history with his new anti-kidnapping tracking mobile application before he was killed.
Manager explained that, “Our paths first crossed in 2017 when we were admitted into IMS as direct entry students. I can say he was very intelligent, committed and dedicated.
Most of the times when we go to buy food, even though some of us are richer than him, he will always try to settle the bill.
“Academically, he was also of help to all the 60+ students in our class. Almost everyone in that class must have been assisted by him academically—directly or indirectly.
“He was also an expert in mobile application creation. Like during his final year project, he created one application on Media English, for journalists to find the meaning of words. Also, during the COVID-19 lockdown, he created an application called HOS Tutors which teaches students virtually.
“I know I have lost many relatives and friends; but I have never been pained by a loss in the last five years like that of Matthew. Before he was killed, he was trying to work on an application that will help counter insurgency.
“If your brother is abducted for instance, instead of going to pay the abductors money, one could use that application to track the abductors’ identity using the number they were calling. I know he was working on that before he was killed,” Manager added.
‘He was jack of all trade, master of all’
Manager also said Matthew was into different programmes—volunteering and fellowships, all geared towards betterment of the society, hence, they call him jack of all trade and master of all.
“We call him jack of all trade, master of all. He was for instance with the Enactus, a leadership and mentorship training association in universities, which under his coordination was able to secure BUK third place nationwide in a contest.
“He was also in different campaigns, including U-My-Heart, a campaign on out-of-school children, he was also into a fellowship with ‘Gidan Yanci’, a campaign on quality education and many others.
“And most importantly, unlike many First-Class students, Sule was very humble, he was never too busy to teach any of his colleagues. In fact, he used to spend his money to visit places in Kano to teach other colleagues, without expecting anything in return,” Manager added.
Though a Christian, most of his friends were Muslims – Course mate
Muhammad Muhammad Sulaiman, another course mate, said though Sule was a Christian, most of his friends are Muslims and he never discriminated against anyone.
He said, “Sule Mathew is a good friend. He had respect for others because majority of his friends are Muslims and he never had an issue with anybody.
“What I like so much about him is his humility. Despite the fact that he is more intelligent than many of his friends, he never looked down on anyone.
“Matthew and Mustapha, my classmate, who happened to live in the same room, gave me shelter when I needed it most. Because I live inside town, I always come to school from home, but during exam, I used to come to the campus in order to read. These gentlemen offered their room to me. I do all that I need there and he never felt disturbed. Sule Matthew is the best student not only in his class but in the entire department.
“Before his murder, Matthew had a lot of dreams for himself and other Nigerians, especially in terms of quality education for children,” Sulaiman added.
Similarly, another friend of the late Matthew, who said they have been together for close to seven years, Mustapha Haruna, said his death is tragic and the loss cannot be quantified.
He was one of those we recommended for employment – HOD
Similarly, the Head of IMS Department of BUK, Dr. Nura Ibrahim, said he knew Matthew as a very humble and intelligent student, hence, he was one of those the department recommended for employment.
“I knew him as a very humble, intelligent and respectful student. His death is a great loss to our department and even to the faculty.
“Though he graduated months ago, most of our students still refer back to him for academic support.
“He was part of the students we recommended from his set, being the pioneer set to graduate, to be retained for employment, before he was killed. So, this is a great loss to us,” Dr Ibrahim added.
Matthew’s cousin, Abdulmalik, also confirmed that they have been working with the police to recover his corpse, but were only able to do so on Wednesday.
He said the remains is presently in his Anyigba community in Kogi State and is set to be buried on Monday.
“He died with a lot of dreams and aspirations. His death is a loss to humanity; for people like him are rare to find,” Abdulmalik concluded.