Student Union Government (SUG) representatives and aides at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa have been harassed by the university administration and security officials for several days. The abuses, lead by the Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Ahaneku and his Personal Assistant Emmanuel “Makutus” Chinagorum, are a retaliation to the SUG President writing a letter about mismanagement of funds and secret spending accounts.
SUG President, Noble Eyisi, wrote a two-page letter to VC Ahaneku listing concerns the student body had regarding the transparency of the use of student fees at the university.
The first concern Mr. Eyisi mentioned in this letter relates to a “Biometric Capturing Fee,” which totaled forty-five million naira, he asked “please sir, the entire studentship demands an explanation as regards this fee and what it ahs been used for, to better the lives of students.”
The university responded to the letter by intimidating and repressing student leaders, especially Mr. Eyisi. According to eyewitness reports, the VC’s PA Makutus brought university security officials to raid the personal possessions and apartment of Mr. Noble Eyisi. Sources told SaharaReporters that university officials were looking for any documents they could confiscate from him. The security, under the direction of Makutus, arrested 10 people and took them to the administration offices.
SaharaReporters reached out to Mr. Emmanuel “Makutus” Chinagorum, however he refused to take questions from our correspondent and refused to connect anyone to the university Public Relations Officer. He told our correspondent, “you go find the number yourself” before saying an expletive remark and hanging up the phone.
There have also been multiple reports that university officials have seized the personal cell phones from student activists at the university. One student told SaharaReporters that “when they [university security] stopped me they took my phone without explanation. After some time, when I got it back, I saw many of my messages and contacts were deleted.”
“The VC and his PA are against the SUG and the President,” he added.
SaharaReporters correspondent spoke with the OC of Intelligence for university security, who refused to comment on any actions the security has taken at the university. When told of reports of student harassment the OC of Intelligence, who refused to provide his name to SaharaReporters, said “let the students come to my office if they are concerned.”
University security officers have also impounded the SUG Bus, again under the direction of Makutus and VC Ahaneku. The driver of the SUG Bus told SaharaReporters during a phone call that security officials “stopped me and told me to hand over the keys to the bus. I told them they have no right to ask for the keys. But then they brought me into their office and forced me to give [the keys] to them.”
SUG President Noble Eyisi also distributed the Letter of Request to the entire student body, however university officials confiscated those materials. In addition to the request for information on how the forty-five million naira will be spent, Mr. Eyisi’s letter also requested to be involved in decisions related to fee increases placed on students.
Among the letter’s requests, he asked to know the amount of money in the Student Union account, which comes from student dues, and has been kept secret by the university administration.
The letter also revealed that the university has not paid the SUG representative allowances, as at other universities across the country. Mr. Eyisi also questioned why Vice Chancellor Ahaneku has not involved the SUG representatives in governance decisions, which affect the student body—like fee increases.
A student who spoke to SaharaReporters said, “the VC and his PA are threatening the life of Noble [the SUG President].” Mr. Noble Eyisi has been hiding from the university authorities who are actively looking for him.
The university has not spoken to the media about the SUG requests for information pertaining to the university’s finances, especially where student fees are being spent. There is a widespread belief among the students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa that the VC has been stealing the money.
Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Ahaneku has refused to take SaharaReporters calls at the time of publication.