Students of the Federal College of Agricultural Produce Technology (FCAPT) Kano, have expressed fears and dismay over what they termed never-ending crisis within the college’s leadership, which has been going on since September 2020.
Findings have revealed that though academic activities continue in the college, students are skeptical about whether the crisis would affect their studies as issues relating to the school management seems to be getting worse, every day.
It was also reported that students of the college are to commence their examinations soon, yet they are not sure if they would successfully do that.
According to Bidemi Williams, a student of the college, the power tussle in the management of the school has led to uncertainty.
“You don’t have to be told that things are not normal here. Students are somehow confused and lecturers are not comfortable with the current happenings. The once friendly atmosphere has been relegated to something else. We are not happy at all with the recent happenings in the school. We would want to see the college return to its normal status,’’ Williams said.
The crisis was said to have erupted when a letter of suspension, with reference number, FCAPT/BM/Vol.1/011, dated April 29, 2021 and signed by the Board chairman, Ambassador Abubakar Shehu Wurno, was issued on the college’s provost, Dr Mohammed Yusha’u Gwaram, who was said to have been found to have fraudulently written a backdated letter to the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) for the attention of the director of IPPIS, vacating the initial interjection placed on him by the Board. In the letter he was requesting and demanding for full payment of his salary.
However, after just two days of the suspension of the provost, another fresh letter from the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), signed by its executive secretary, Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu and dated April 30, 2021, was issued, suspending members and the chairman of the Governing Board, the provost and the acting registrar.
Meanwhile, the Governing Board of the college has described ARCN’s action in addressing the issue as “strange and alarming.” They insisted that their suspension was illegal and thereby stood no ground, adding that there is a subsisting suit in an Abuja court and an order issued on September 2, which directed parties to maintain status quo. The Board said the order ought to be respected.
“Only the president who appointed the Board members has the power to suspend or discipline them, not any other person or authority. The president can do this either directly or through a delegated authority flowing directly from the Presidency. In view of the above, we hereby direct that the content of the letter be ignored and or disregarded as it has not been approved by the lawful authority; and the management of the college should continue in its operation without distraction until contrary notice from the Governing Board,” the letter reads.
The suspended provost was also accused of implementing the 2020 budget without the knowledge and approval of the college’s Governing Board, as well as unilaterally appointing a new deputy provost; hence the board’s decision to suspend him.
The crisis in the college deepened when the ARCN announced Dr Alimi Halima Modupeore as the acting provost and Nuhu Lawal as acting registrar respectively and claimed that the suspension of the Governing Board was under the directive of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Resources, Alhaji Sabo Nanono.
According to another student, Maryama I. Khalid, there is the need for superior authorities to intervene in the crisis before it goes out of hand. She said students were very much concerned about their future in the college, and lectures are more concerned about their fate than academic activities.
“We are very worried because we are not getting the necessary attention from the school management. It is understandable that they are busy trying to get things right, but sadly, the students have been at the receiving end since September 2020,’’ she said.
It was, however, gathered that since the leadership tussle started, academic activities have not stopped, but students are complaining that learning activities have not been properly conducted, thereby putting them at a disadvantaged position.