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Wednesday, May 12

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AND THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, AUDU OGBEH By Daniel Akwemaho Asokere

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Good day sirs, it’s with fainted heart I’m bringing to your attention, the chronic dereliction that the FEDERAL COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, MOOR PLANTATION, IBADAN has found herself which is currently causing havoc and disruption to academic, socio-economic and psychological well-being cum activities in the institution.
I write to inform you in order to restore sanity and administrative balance to the institution, as well as, ensure no such issue arise in times to come.

Precisely on Tuesday, 22nd of August, 2017, a congress was held amongst the students of the institution with the aim of communicating their propositions to the college management, the resolution made at the congress was that the students will boycott lectures for the rest of the week and if no action was taken by then, a peaceful protest will be staged on Monday, 28th of August, 2017.

But to our utmost surprise, the college was arbitrarily closed down immediately after the congress, by the order from the Provost of the College who at that time was in Abuja. No dialogue or notification whatsoever as to the closure of the school not minding the fact that students whose parent homes are not in Ibadan will find it difficult to get home that fateful evening. Though, I was personally not baffled because that has been one of the antics of the Adelekan-led administration since his inception in office.

The items the students requested for were: electricity in the halls of residence, identity cards for returning students (both students’ identity card and NIIT identity card), students practical logbooks and practical overalls/lab coats).

Apart from the items listed above, we also lodged complaints as touching some other issues which are;

1. NIIT ICT classes which had never been held since the inception of the session and students were paying for it, students requested for commencement of NIIT classes immediately after resumption or reimbursement of the money paid as the whole ICT training was all ruse and the students couldn’t figure out it importance.

2. Entrepreneurship practical classes which had never been held since the inception of the session should start with immediate effect after the congress was held.

3. Students also complained about payments being made in practical classes before the classes can hold and they seek an end to that because we’ve paid through our noses to become a student but we are not getting commensurate values for the money paid.

4. Reaccreditation of courses which had not been done over years, of which the accreditation of some courses has expired and needs re-accreditation which will in turn have adverse effects on graduating students that are to partake in the mandatory NYSC programme but will not be able to do so.
5. The contract between the NHIS accredited hospital/clinic and the college has expired and as such they don’t attend to students from the institution anymore whenever medical attention is need to be accessed by any bona fide student of the College.

More so, no student have the NHIS card that serves as a health insurance card that can be use even if they are not on campus, so it is surprising that the health insurance we paid for in our school fees can’t be accessed by the students unless we are on campus.

6. Indiscriminate closure of the institution by the college management is another source of worry for students which had been a habitual tactics by the Adelekan-led administration to further suppress the dissenting voices of wearied student populace.

7. Unequipped and heavily dilapidated laboratories pose a major threat to educational activities in the institution as it inhibits and suppresses the level of practical knowledge of students.

Practically, the school is nothing more than a village high school with no facility as there are no reagents, chemicals, equipment, apparatuses, implement and other vital materials that are needed for the smooth running of practical sessions.
8. Clarification on some money paid were requested for, (they include library development fee, online solution, online registration of courses, administrative fee, games fee, alumni due and entrepreneurship fee) because students claimed not to see the use to which the following payments are put to.

A memo was released on the 23rd of October, 2017 that the institution has been re-opened and lectures are to commence immediately. But to our utmost surprise, the workers union embarked on their own indefinite strike.
After series of meeting was held with the management on the workers’ strike and there was no feasible date of resumption, the students staged another protest for Monday, November 13th, 2017.

The once peaceful protest turned into a bloody riot when officials of the Nigerian Police Force under the directive from the Executive Provost of the institution Dr. Adelekan attacked students with life arms and ammunition, who were carrying out their civic right as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended. During the police assault, two (2) Staffs of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) were shot while many students of the institution were seriously injured.

Afterward sporadic lectures commenced on Monday, 18th of December, 2017, and this was due to the irregularities and imbalance in hierarchical order that has befell the rank and file of the college as the management team are not in school and recent report reaching us was that the Provost and some of his management team members are currently under the custody of EFCC as a result of some leaked information of financial misappropriation cum embezzlement through the Joint Action Congress (JAC) of the College.

Students are still waiting in good faith as to what will become of them because our future is at stake.

So it is on this note I’m imploring your Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Honourable Minister for Agriculture, Sir, Audu Ogbeh to bring a lasting solution to the problem and as well properly fund education.

To be realistic, budgeting 7% for education is a child’s play for a developing country like ours, whereby nations like Finland are budgeting over 28% which is the recommended percentage by UNESCO. In line with that, government should further scrutinize the managements of tertiary institutions in Nigeria to know how they are utilizing the subventions coming into those institutions.

Daniel Akwemaho Asokere, is a student activist, the Financial Director of Alliance of Nigeria Student Against Neo-Liberal Attack and as well a student of the affected College (Federal College of Agriculture, Ibadan).

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