A brewing tension between minority Christians and a larger body of Muslim students has resulted in the closure of the Federal University in Dutsin-ma in Katsina State by the university’s management.
Our correspondent reported that today’s tense atmosphere arose when, just after their Friday prayers, Islamic students at the university mobilized and began protesting against Christian employees at the university.
Andrew Moses, a security guard at the University, told our correspondent, “We saw strange faces stationed at Academic Department housing the university management staff, including the Vice Chancellor. When we inquired about their mission, they simply said, ‘We are here for jihad against Christians in the university.’”
Mr. Moses said he and other guards quickly alerted the university’s head of security who immediately called the police.
A lecturer at the university who sought anonymity told our reporter that there had been longstanding tension at the university, with Muslim students accusing the former Vice Chancellor, James Ayatse, of favoring Christians in filling academic and non-academic vacancies.
The lecturer said today’s crisis boiled over when Haruna Kaita, recently reinstated as the Vice Chancellor by a court order, set to resume in office. The university’s Governing Council had earlier fired Mr. Kaita over allegations of financial mismanagement.
Mr. Kaita mounted a legal challenge to his suspension in court, and won a verdict ordering the Governing Council to reinstate him.
According to our academic source, “Professor Kaita came to the university with a group of Muslims who threatened to deal with any Christians working at here,” referring to the Federal Government-owned university.
He said the Muslim students backing Mr. Kaita also mobilized other Muslims groups from Dutsin-ma town to support their mission of unseating Christians in the university.
One source told our correspondent that Samuel Zumve, the interim chairman of the Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASUU), hastily mobilized some Christian students who came together “prepared to defend their Christians fellows in the university.”
Our correspondent learned that police officer had been deployed around the university to forestall religious violence in the town and the university. Despite the police presence, the chairman of the university Senate, Bichi, ordered immediate closure of the university until normalcy returns.