By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The crisis rocking the Church of Christ in Nations, COCIN-owned University, Karl Kum University, KKU is yet to abate as the host community, Vwang District of Jos South local government area has insisted the conditions spelt out in the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU between them and the institution must be respected before activities could be resumed.
KKU got its license last year and principal officers were put in place but yet to be resolved issues between the University and the host community forced the license to be revoked and activities stalled.
The community faulted the hurried manner which the
Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University led members of the Council on a courtesy visit to Government House, Jos and urging the State Governor, Simon Lalong to intervene rather than calling on the Visitor to the institution which is the COCIN Church.
Addressing journalists in Jos on Wednesday, President, Vwang Development Association, VDA, Jonah Gworu maintained, “… Either the COCIN Church honours its obligation to us as contained in the MoU or we withdraw our earlier donations made to facilitate the takeoff of the KKU.”
He argued that the State Government can encourage COCIN and the host Community to resolve their differences by implementing the condition of the memorandum of understanding (MoU). COCIN came to Vwang Community to demand land to build KKU, not Plateau State Government. The land where Karl Kum University is built was donated by Vwang Community to COCIN and MoU was signed between the donor and the recipient without the State Government involvement.
The people prayed that “The COCIN Church calls all its appointees in KKU to order, set machinery in motion for the review of the statutes of KKU in line with global best practices, assume effective possession of their property before some selfish individuals with sinister motives disown of it and continue with the process it has started with the host community towards resolving the impasse.”
They further stated among other things that “COCIN should assume responsibility and address issues at stake, as we have no MoU with Professor Bogoro, Professor Onazi or Plateau State Government,” and asked that “Professor Onazi be made to apologize to the host community for the insults he heaped on them at the Government House.”
It would be recalled that just last week, Governor Simon Lalong directed the Commissioner for Higher Education and the Head of Service to immediately engage all stakeholders in resolving the misunderstanding that led to the suspension of the license of the institution.
He was speaking when the KKU Pro-Chancellor, Prof. Ochapa Onazi, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nanven Gambo, and others visited the Government House, Rayfield, Jos.
Lalong had expressed displeasure on how the new University which got an operational license in 2021 could not take off due to misunderstanding with the host community over the appointment of the Registrar in line with an MOU signed with them and said the issue must be resolved quickly as the University which had been in incubation for over 18 years was finally given the green light to operate having fulfilled the conditions of the NUC, only to have the joy truncated.
The Governor said the State Government had restrained itself from meddling in the affairs of the private Institution with the hope that things will be sorted out quickly, but would now have to be involved based on the request of the Council and the fact that the entire State stands to lose if the University does not take off.
He said “Plateau State is known as a hub for education and we are proud of COCIN for the contribution of its educational institutions which have produced great minds in Nigeria. However, this development at the KKU does not speak well for the State and must be addressed immediately… I visited Mr. President and appealed to him to sign the bill passed by the National Assembly to upgrade the Federal College of Education, Pankshin to a University of Education. While we are looking for more Universities, we have to show that we are ready to be good hosts”.