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Ethno-Religious Cleansing At Federal University Dutsinma: Matazu Lied- Dr. Maryam Ati

September 29, 2016

Dr. Maryam H. Ati, a former lecturer at the Federal University, Dustinma in Katsina State, has described, as a parade of lies, the attempt of  Mr. Habibu Garba Matazu to paint the institution as a hotbed of ethno-religious bigotryunder the former Vice Chancellor, Professor James Ayatse. Mr. Matazu, a Principal Public Relations Officer of the university, had written a piece, published by SaharaReporters, in response to an article, similarly published bySaharaReporters, alleging ethnic and religious cleansing at the institution by Professor Ayatse.

According to Dr. Ati, Mr. Matazu’s claim that the former Vice Chancellor and the Governing Council were removed and replaced with a new Vice Chancellor, Professor Haruna Kaita, and Governing Council was inaccurate.

What happened, she said, was that Professor Ayatse honourably left the university on 16 February, following the completion of his tenure as Vice-Chancellor. Dr. Ati similarly described, as absurd, Mr. Matazu’s allegation that indigenes of Katsina State have not been employed by the institution. Addressing the claim, Dr. Ati wrote: “Even a small child will see through the lies here. How can a university that has two principal officers from the state (the Registrar and the Librarian), that conducted regularization interview on 10th and 11thFebruary, 2016, with the Federal Character Commission, the University Registrar, a consultant from outside the university and other senior management staff in attendance, as required by law, not have a single Katsinaindigene on the nominal roll? This is stretching the truth to an absurd limit.”

Responding to Mr. Matazu’s claims that almost all the staff recruited by the university aremembers of the Deeper Life Christian Ministry and that no Muslim or Christian of other denominations was appointed as dean, director or head of department under the Vice Chancellorship of Professor Ayatse, an indigene of Benue State, Dr. Ati said Mr. Matazucompletely turned truth upside down. She pointed out that Professor Ayatse, his deputy, Professor Johnson O. Fatokun; and the bursar, Mr. Momohjimoh Sadiq, were correctly identified by Mr. Matazu as Deeper Life members.

But Dr. Ati also pointed out that Sir BoyeOyewande, Director Physical Planning andWorks, is a Knight of the Methodist Church, not a Deeper Life member, as claimed by Matazu.    The case of Mr. Jack A. Ebe, Director Procurement, presented by Matazu as a Deeper Life Christian, is similar. According to Dr. Ati, Mr. Ebe is a member of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA). 

   Professor. Joshua Ogunwale, the university’sDirector Advancement and Linkages, whom Mr. Matazu claimed was a Deeper Life member, said Dr. Ati, belongs to the Baptist denomination. Another lie said to have been told by Mr. Matazu concerned Dr. Godwin O. Adejo,Director Academic Planning. Dr. Adejo was presented as a Deeper Life Christian by Mr. Matazu. However, Dr. Ati said he is a member of the Living Faith Church.

  Also identified as off-target was the presentation of Mr. Agber Torkuma, as a Director of ICT and Deeper Life Christian. Mr. Torkuma, said Dr. Ati, is a coordinator, supervised by a director, and not a director. He is also said to attend Chapel of Truth, not Deeper Life.   Mr. Matazu, Dr. Atiadmitted, correctly identified Dr. OlabisiTanimowa, Director, University Health Service, and Professor Friday Ati, Dean of Social Sciences, as Deeper Life Christians.

But again, Dr. Ati said, he goofed in the case of Dr. Yunusa Magaji Matazu, a Katsina State indigene and member of the ECWA Church. Dr. Matazu is also said to be a cousin to the man who has lied against him. Both, maintained Dr. Ati, hail from Matazu Local Government Area of KatsinaState.

Similarly dismissed as hogwash was Mr. Matazu’s identification of Mr. Raymond C.O, the university Chief Security Officerand ECWA member as a Deeper Life Christian

Others wrongly identified as Deeper Life members are Professors Shade Omokore, Dean of Arts and member of JAWOM; A E Kighir, Dean Management Sciences and a Catholic; Benjamin A. Ladani, Dean of Education and member of Mountain of Fire; and Mr. Q. Amua, Dean of Student Affairs, a member of Christ Embassy.


Dr. Ati noted that Mr. Matazu was agenda-driven, the reason for which he avoided providing the full list of people occupying strategic positions during the Vice Chancellorship of Professor Ayatse.

“In his attempt to hoodwink the reading public,Habibu Matazu failed to give the full list of people occupying strategic positions in the university during the former Vice-Chancellor’s administration,” she wrote. 

These, she said, included Alhaji Abubakar Muhammed, Registrar and Muslim from Katsina State; Dr. Babangida Dangani, Librarianand Muslim from Katsina State; ProfessorHamisu A. Bichi, Dean of Agriculture and Muslim from Kano State; Professor Baba Kutigi, Muslim from Niger State; Dr. Aminu D. Kankia, Director SOGAPS and Muslim from Katsina State; Tijjani Nadoro, Chief Internal Auditor and Muslim from Katsina State; andMatazu himself, who was the Principal Public Relations Officer and a Muslim from KatsinaState.

“It is obvious Matazu kept all these details away to convince the reading public that his fabrications are true. However, conscience is an open wound,” wrote Dr. Ati. 

On Mr. Matazu’s allegation that the former Vice Chancellor ensured that most of the university’s junior staff were employed from Benue State, in alleged breach of the regulation stating that lower cadre staff be employed from the area where the federal institution is located, Dr. Atiwrote: You (SaharaReporters) may wish to send your reporter to Dutsinma on a fact-finding mission and you will realize that the university is plagued with a crop of indigenous staff who cannot communicate in English. This group constitute not less than 80 percent of junior staff on the nominal roll.”

On Mr. Matazu’s claim that the Governing Council of the university has established a committee to verify the status of all staff, Dr. Ati wrote that a staff audit had indeed been directed to be carried out by the Audit Committee. However, she said the incumbentVice Chancellor, Professor Kaita, did not wait for the report of the audit committee to be considered by council before terminating the appointments of close to 300 staff.

She said she was one of those affected, adding that there are issues with the exercise that the public needs to be aware of.   

Explaining the issues, Dr. Ati wrote: “No part of the letter indicated that if I fail to regularize, which is the responsibility of only the Governing Council, I would be terminated. The paragraph 4 which was referred in the termination letter became null and void on 20thJuly, 2015. My services were fully acknowledged and remunerated as Lecturer I by the university after the said expiration for one full year. Attached are sample pay slips, lecture schedules, SIWES supervision schedule, appointment to represent the Faculty on the Board of Faculty of Management Sciences among others. Also, minutes of Departmental and Faculty Board meetings will testify to this. I have been used to teach and perform Departmental, Faculty and University meetings after 20th July 2015.   I was upgraded one step higher in October 2015. This is a clear indication that my services were deemed regularized and well remunerated by the university. An official annual leave was approved for me by the Registrar, from which I resumed on 17th August, 2016. I was invited for and attended a regularization interview organized by the university on 10th of February with other staff members and have been waiting for the result before the purported termination of my appointment.  

The university has, at all times, deducted my pension since then. Only indigenes of KatsinaState have been secretly given a regularization letter since the recent appointment of the Vice Chancellor. The Vice Chancellor has been terminating the appointments of non-Katsinaindigenes. The Vice Chancellor has usurped the powers of the Governing Council.”

Dr. Ati also demanded, among other things, thatMr. Matazu should immediately retract his article because it is full of falsehood, deliberate misinformation and outright lies. In addition, she is requesting that SaharaReporters to compel the university, using the Freedom of Information Act, to produce the nominal roll of the university as a confirmation or rebuttal of Mr. Matazu’s claims.