By George Onah
Once upon a decade, the name Rivers State University of Science and Technology was the citadel of cultism. In fact, the premier university of technology was considered the tactical headquarters of Nigerian Students cult command.
Students and staff as well as residents in the neighbourhood of the institution approached the campus with trepidation. As many as four or five students die daily on the campus as a result of rival cult clashes.
At the height of militancy in the Niger Delta region, the campus served as recruitment ground for budding militants. At that time, people were admitted without the requisite qualification, so much so that, admission to the school was not restricted to the examinations and records office.
Even faculty officials and all manner of people admitted students as much as they wanted. This is to the effect that five people had the same matriculation number, such as U/532X, U/523XX, U/523XXX. Some of the officers were said to have gone to their village square and fishing ports to enlist scores of youths to attend classes in the university.
They were told to just attend classes with the hope that they may secure admission letter and matriculation number before their last year in the school. Many of such dregs were promoted until final year, without approved matriculation number and were subsequently graduated without results or certificates.
Because of the over population in the school and menace of cultists, lecturers were held at gunpoint by students to award marks on their examination script. There was infrastructural decay, 80 percent of the courses run in the institution were without full accreditation. Only eight out of 38 courses were accredited. There was poor service delivery and academic records were in shamble, which gave the university credibility problems.
The institution was not ranked at all in the university ranking in the country. Established in 1980 as the first technological university in Nigeria, the founding fathers aimed at making it to contribute technological manpower to the region and nation’s economy, it performed well at inception but fizzled out after a few years. The last convocation was held in 2003.