ABUJA has become used to medical students of the University of Abuja flooding the highways leading into the city, to protest the continued insensitivity of the university authorities to their plight. Many of the students after eight years in the institution have not advanced beyond the 300 level though ordinarily it takes six years to graduate as medical doctors.
Their main problem is that the institution’s medical courses were not accredited and have not in eight years. The university authorities have failed to arrange for the transfer of the students to other universities. It is doubtful if any university would accept students with suspect transfer details. The students are seeking compensation of N10 million each for their wasted years. They are taking their case to the street; they have no money to hire lawyers.
If you are looking for an example of the insensitivity that runs through governments, the students’ case presents one. The protests are routine. They hold in the seat of federal power, yet nobody from the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Assembly or the Presidency deems it a responsibility to resolve the plight of the students whose only offence is that they were admitted to a programme that the university advertised, when it had no accreditation for it.
Young people are being forced to waste their useful years, trapped in an institution that had no reason to admit students to study medicine in the first place, not being accredited for the course. Those who committed this crime have moved on unpunished, the present university authorities look away, and so does the Federal Ministry of Education, which owns the university, and the National Universities Commission which approved the unaccredited courses.
The Federal Government should without hesitation punish everyone involved in bringing the students to this horrible state. They should be compensated, in addition to helping them conclude their studies. It is a shame that with all the plaudits civil society groups award themselves; they have not taken up this matter. Where is justice for injured and underprivileged Nigerians like these? If they had the means they would not be in this situation.
There are more schools admitting students when they are not properly equipped to handle certain courses and do not have the appropriate accreditations. Why does the NUC ignore these malpractices or are its officials beneficiaries of the scam? What is the inertia over this glaring injustice?
What is going on at the University of Abuja is a disgrace to regulators of university education. Their indifference is culpable. Let the plight of the medical students be addressed once and for all – this cannot be done without punishing their tormentors.