According to a report by SaharaReporters, some students of the University of Calabar, Cross River State, have petitioned the National Assembly over a directive by the school’s Vice-Chancellor, Florence Obi, that final-year students in some selected departments should return to 200 level due to non-accreditation of their courses by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
The students affected, SaharaReporters gathered, are in their penultimate and final years.
One of them revealed that they had sent a petition to the National Assembly requesting a reversal of the VC’s directive that they should be taken back to 200 level.
He noted that a lawyer had written the petition on their behalf, while every affected student signed the petition.
The students are currently awaiting the outcome of the petition.
He said, “Some students have travelled, they are not within the school premises though the school is in session. We can’t even tell whether they are still interested in schooling or not, they just travelled. No one can force them to resume academic activities.
”We have sent a petition to the Senate and House of Representatives; a lawyer wrote it and every one of us signed it.
“The students are really depressed, some have travelled to Lagos. UNICAL has wasted four years of our lives. I have never heard this anywhere.”
Meanwhile, some of the students who spoke with SaharaReporters earlier lamented how they had already spent millions of naira on their courses by paying through the nose.
They, therefore, described the VC’s decision as inhumane and inconsiderate.
The students explained that courses affected by the accreditation issue include Fine and Applied Arts, Mass Communication, and Music.
According to them, the affected courses were newly introduced during the administration of the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the school, Zana Akpagu.
They alleged that the new Vice-Chancellor of the institution had personal scores to settle with the former Vice-Chancellor and that the animosity was taking a toll on students’ lives.
One of the respondents said, “I have an issue in my school and I don’t know where it is heading to. I am a final-year student in the Fine and Applied Arts department at the University of Calabar but the Vice-Chancellor is telling us to go back to Year two so that NUC will recognise us. This is after paying school fees for four years and wasting money on materials which have so far, amounted to millions of naira. The new VC is now telling us we have to comply with this directive else we will not have results.”
Another student described the VC’s directive as unfair, saying the issue should be reconsidered for the sake of the students.
He said, “There’s an issue going on that is really unfair. We are students of the University of Calabar. We have been in the school from 100 level to final year. For some of us in selected departments such as Fine & Applied Arts, Mass Communication, and the rest, the VC is telling us that we have to go back to 200 level and we are already in the final year.
“We have spent money; Fine and Applied Arts gulps a lot of money, we are in final year and now they are telling us to go back to 200 level and it is just an accreditation issued by the NUC and now the new VC does not want to consider people. Something has to be done.”
When asked if the VC promised a tuition waiver for the students, he replied that school fees were the least of his worries but rather the time and efforts wasted over the years.
He continued, “Paying school fees is not an issue, we are not worried about that. Do you know, sometimes, in a day we spend like N5, 000 to N6, 000 to buy chemicals and the rest and we did this for four years. We are planning on taking legal steps against them.
“Our set is the first set of Fine & Applied Arts in UNICAL alongside Mass Communication and Music, they were not taking the course before now, they just registered it.
“The former VC, we believe has an issue with the new VC, and this new VC cannot go and settle the issues they have so we can graduate in peace, they are making it affect us. The former VC introduced the courses. We cannot suffer because of someone else’s personal problems.”