Borno govt queries provost for suspending students who failed to welcome Buhari

THE Borno State government has queried the Provost College of Nursing and Midwifery Rukaiya Mustapha for suspending students of the institution who refused to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari when he visited the state on June 17.

The state Commissioner of Health and Human Services Juliana Bitrus issued the query on Friday.

Borno State Commissioner for Health, Juliana Bitrus

In the query, Mustapha was given 48 hours “to advance compelling reasons why a disciplinary action should not be meted against her.”

In the statement obtained by The ICIR on the Facebook page of the Governor of Borno State, Bitrus claimed that the suspension of the students by the provost was aimed at embarrassing the state government.

In the query with reference number MOH/PER/752 V.I and dated June 25, the commissioner said Mustapha acted on her own, without recourse to any official at her supervising ministry and any directives from anyone in the state government.

Buhari had visited Maiduguri to assess the security situation in the area, and to also commission the first phase of 10,000 houses he approved for resettlement of IDPs in Borno State.

He also commissioned seven capital projects executed by Governor Babagana Zulum.

In the suspension notice, which was seen by The ICIR, Mustapha suspended the students on June 21 and directed them to resume on June 28 with their parents and guardians.

The notice reads: “You are hereby suspended from the college for one week with effect from today June 21 2021 for disobedience of executive order to welcome the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, GCON (on June 17 2021),”

The suspension notice

It is a tradition for Nigerian students to file on the roads with military and paramilitary officers to welcome a sitting president to their state of residence.

But such a practice is usually voluntary for any student, even if their school authority directs them.

Bitrus said students constituted far less than thousand of residents “who freely trooped out” to welcome Buhari in all parts of Maiduguri.

She opined that the provost might have used the president’s visit to punish some students with whom she might have had issues.

According to her, Borno State has about eight state-owned tertiary institutions, and “it appeared curious that only at the College of Nursing and Midwifery that students were suspended on account of Buhari’s visit”.



    The commissioner explained that it was hard for her ministry to believe reports about the provost’s action.

    The ministry took time to investigate and confirm the act before issuing a query, she said.

    “Heads of states and presidents have been visiting Borno since 1976, and students do join in welcoming them, and no one ever expected 100 per cent compliance in any public mobilisation,” added Bitrus.

    “If any issue involving students was to be raised, how come it was not the Borno State University, which the president commissioned, or schools around projects commissioned by the president?” Bitrus queried.

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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