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We demand justice from ABU Zaria mgt over our father’s death — Late lecturer’s son

Hisham Muazu Mohammad is the son of late Muazu Muhammed Ahmad, an English lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, whose death has generated…

Hisham Muazu Mohammad is the son of late Muazu Muhammed Ahmad, an English lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, whose death has generated controversy following allegations by the family that he died due to depression suffered in the hands of his PhD supervisor. He speaks about the incident that happened to his father and why the family wants justice.


What happened between your father and ABU management?

My father was a lecturer at the department of English and Literary studies, ABU Zaria.  He wanted to further his studies and he got admission for PhD at the same university in 2011 and for 13 years, his supervisor, one Prof G Y Sadiq, was not willing to let him complete his study.

My father wrote a letter to the department complaining about the delay and asked for a change of supervisor. In the letter, he explained how the supervisor has been using him as an errand boy to buy drugs and book hospital space for him with his time and resources, yet after two months, he wrote the letter nothing was done in regards to his demands.

He became worried and fell down with a partial stroke. We took him to hospital and the doctor said he was suffering from depression and after he got a bit better, we spoke to him about what was going on with him. He said it was about his studies, PhD in ABU and that his supervisor would not allow him to finish his work in the past 13 years, the incident happened 23rd May 2022, after he started getting better, the stroke affected his speaking ability but he could read and hear but he could not write and speak.

After he fell ill what did the varsity do?

The stroke also affected his job as a lecturer but when we were at the hospital, the dean of his faculty visited us and said he did not know that such a thing was happening between my father and his supervisor until he saw the letter written by my father. He gave my father the assurance that once he gets better, they will do something about it. When my father heard that, we started seeing improvement from him, indicating that it was the cause of his problem.

After he was discharged from hospital, he asked me to contact the university about his work. I went to the department and they kept saying they will solve the issue until it lasted more than one and half years and my dad realised that they did not want to solve the issue. The incident recurred again and we took him back to hospital and the doctor complained again that it is the depression and that we should do the needful to ensure he gets out of it by getting what he wants because his heart is under pressure.

I called the department again to give them the update and they promised to resolve the issue but nothing was eventually done.

Did the university eventually change the supervisor for your dad?

No, they did not change him, the same man continued and he never visited nor reached out to my dad after not seeing him for almost two years. He knew my dad was sick because they are in the same department. My father died on 4th of February, 2024 leaving behind his nine children and my mother.

Even after his death, it was only the HOD and dean of the department that visited us and nobody else and until now, no one has called us on that from the school management. The most painful thing is that nobody called us from the school authority nor was any action taken. It shows that today in this world, if you’re not anybody, nobody cares about you.

What did you do to help him out of the depressive mood?

Anytime he reacted about the issue, it was always in anger, which worsened his case and I wanted him to get better. So, I started telling him that they had done something and even awarded him the PhD because I wanted him to get better.

With his death, what does your family want from the varsity?

We have taken the case to the management of the school and we demand justice for our father. We want the management to take action on that. Also, the ASUU chairman knows about the case and promised to take action on it but when a journalist called him, he said he only knew about his death and doesn’t know about the letter.  So, at the departmental level, they hid it because they don’t want us to speak to the media and that is why we want the media to help us so that the management of the university will see it and take action.

How will you describe your father as a lecturer and dad?

As a lecturer, right from the very first day that my father fell sick, I encountered many of his students from the university he teaches, his colleagues and other members of the university.

Academically, my father is very good and he is an understanding man, which you can see between him and his students and other lecturers, he doesn’t have any problem with students. Every now and then, his students were at the hospital visiting him and nobody was saying otherwise to my father then. I can’t estimate the number of calls I answered during that time as well.

And when it comes to academics, I could remember on many occasions my mother asking him to go and rest but he would insist on going on with his work. On academic matters, he would always go the extra mile to get things done and my father likes research. He could spend the whole night doing research.

And as a lecturer, l came to realise something about him, if he won’t be available for lectures, maybe for some personal issues, he made sure he informs the class rep that he will not be around and same to his colleagues like HOD.

As a father, we are very fortunate and lucky to have had a father like him because every role that a father is expected to play for his family, my very own father had played that role. I can’t say he was 100 per cent because he is a human being but my father was a very good man and a role model to his children.

He took good care of us, ranging from what we eat, school fees, what we wear and so many other things of life. Alhamdulilah, we have everything we have today because they were provided by our late father.

My father was a person that does not complain about anything, if you see him complaining about something, that thing is huge and supposed to be complained about by everyone.

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