Over 30 female students of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS) have been dislodged from their hostel for allegedly booing their Hall Governor. On Tuesday, many of the students returned from their various classes to see that they had been banned from accessing their halls of residence.
A video seen by FIJ showed the moment Professor Aminu Mode, the Dean of Students Affairs of the university, went berserk. Accompanied by security officers, he dashed into the rooms of the students, threw out their belongings and hurled abuses at them.
“You’re going to leave this whole hall,” he said to the agitating students. “If you like you beat her; if you like you kill her; if you like you do whatever you want to do. You are leaving the hall. This is not your parents’ hall.”
“Our parents cannot treat us like this,” the rowdy students replied.
But Professor Mode responded: “You’re very stupid. If you have the guts, you can come and tell me here.
“You’re leaving the hall. We’re going to trace all that did it, one after the other. We’re already getting secret information about it and we’ll continue to get it.
“You’re not animals. You’re students; you’re human beings. But you’re making yourself animalistic and we’re not going to tolerate it. We’ll continue to investigate until we get those that did it one after the other. We’re beginning to compile names already. Do you all think you can live in this hall without a leader?”
The outraged students were silent for a moment but as Prof. Mode stopped talking, they raised their voices again.
“We’re not the ones that did it. Look at how you’re flining our belongings everywhere. This is injustice from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto,” one of them was heard saying.
Khadija Aminu, the hall Governor at Block D of Zamfara Hostel, had reported that she was booed while enforcing the Students Affairs’ order to seize every contraband electrical appliances from students. The university had banned all students of the institution from using heavy electrical appliances, such as electric cookers and in the hostel. While enforcing the ban on electric cookers in the halls of residence, Khadijah was booed by some students, who accused her of being guilty of exactly what she was enforcing.
Eyewitnesses accused Khadijah of insulting students and going beyond her jurisdiction, in the name of enforcing the ban. They also accused Mode of not investigating the episode before reaching his conclusions on the matter.
At a March 29 meeting with student leaders of the university, Mode had encouraged all hall governors to seize as many as possible contraband electrical appliances. He had pledged free accommodation and other fat rewards to any hall governor that could seize up to 50 appliances from their fellow students. The urge to get the reward pushed many of them, including Khadijah, to embark on the mission.
The incident that provoked the meeting was a mini-protest against days of power outage in the school and the inconsistency of the university generator that was supposed to mitigate the situation.
“When students begin to use hot plates (electric cookers), it overpowers the generator. That is why it’s being switched on and off to get it cooled,” Mode told student leaders at the meeting.
WE’RE HOMELESS, SAY DISLODGED STUDENTS
A few days after they were dislodged from their halls of residence, dozens of the students have lamented how their homelessness has affected their studies. They have been loitering around the hostel environment and sleeping outside like Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
FIJ obtained pictures of the stranded students finding where to lay their heads at night. Their luggage are seen scattered all over the hostel exterior and their beds laid on bare floor. Many of them said they had not taken a bath in three days and that they had been unable to cook for themselves because were denied access to many things in the hostel following their eviction.
“Sometimes, we take our baths outside while male students passing by see us naked as we dress up. It’s really stressful,” said one of the victims who begged not to be named.
“In fact I’m currently not feeling fine as I talk to you,” the student added. “I am having malaria. Mosquitoes have dealt with me because I’m sleeping outside.”
ACCOMMODATION IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT
When contacted, the Dean of Students Affairs explained that the dislodged students had abused the privilege of living in the university hostel. He added that accommodation is not a right but a privilege.
“When students violates the regulations of the university, we deboard the them,” he said. “Students are human beings and they cannot be without leaders. Every block (in the hostel) has a leader that we call the Governor. Part of the responsibility of the Governor is to report problems.
“One major thing that the university does not agree with is the use of hotplates in our hostel and gas cylinder. Students use these hotplates when we put on our generator. When there is no electricity, UDUS magnanimously uses generators for students to enjoy. Using these generators is not a right, it’s just a privilege. When these hotplates are used, the engine of the generator will become hot beyond its capacity.
“One of our simplest and most humane punishments is to deboard any student that uses hotplates in our hostel. When one of our hall governors seized hotplates in some students room, they went ahead to mobilise themselves; they shouted at her and even attempted to beat and poured water in her room — buckets of water.
“When she reported to me, I went to the hostel at night Monday. I told the students that what they did was a prohibition in the university. They added salt to injury by attempting to beat our representative, who is their leader (Hall Governor).”
He added that the university management was still investigating the matter.
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