The Management of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and the leadership of the Muslim Students’ Society in Nigeria (MSSN) at the university have independently launched investigations into an alleged claim that lecture timetable in a particular department is aimed at preventing Muslim students from observing their five mandatory prayers.
In an open letter written to the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Kabir Bala, by one Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim, the letter stated that students in a particular department were denied rights to offer Zuhr (noon prayer) and Asr (afternoon prayer) at their prescribed time, calling it a violation of their human rights as Muslims.
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The letter which was copied to the DVC, Dean of Faculties, HODs and MSSN, stated that a copy of the timetable “show that lectures are slated for 1-2 pm, 2-4 pm and 4-6 pm” and gave instances where students who stepped out to observe Asr prayer after the 2-4 lecture were denied access to the next venue for the 4-6 lecture.
“The lecturer pledge to give a test the following week and those absent will not write the test. The targets are those outsides, those who went out to pray,” it stated.
While describing the attitude of the lecturers as an attempt to “Christianize the institution,” the writer said lecturers also pushed lecture times on Friday in an attempt to clash with congregational prayers thereby making it impossible for Muslim students to attend Juma’at prayers.
Daily Trust findings gathered that the said Faculty in the eye of the storm is Social Science even though the exact department accused of setting the timetable is yet to be revealed.
Our correspondent who contacted the Director, Public Affairs Directorate of ABU, Auwalu Umar, gathered that the university management had not received the letter either through the office of the Director, Academic Planning, Dean Students Affairs or the chief security but had sighted the letter online.
“Even though we did not receive the letter, the management of the school has launched an investigation to know the department and faculty where this is taking place,” said Umar.
When contacted, the MSSN President of ABU, Muhammad Zakariyya Al-Kaffawy, said the existence of the said timetable was never brought to its attention until the online post surfaced. Al-Kaffawy who described it as unfortunate said the timetable which came out three months ago was not made public until towards the end of the semester.
“We are investigating the matter presently. We want to know because it seemed the timetable came out three months ago and the complaint is coming up now when exams have taken place.”