Nigeria: Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) in Bauchi Temporarily Closes Amidst Protest Following Tragic Killing of Final-Year Student
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) in Bauchi has taken the decision to close its doors temporarily in response to a student protest that erupted on Monday. The protest was triggered by the tragic killing of a final-year student, Joseph Obiaje Agabaidu, in an alleged encounter with a gang of phone robbers.
Hajia Fatima Abdullahi, the Deputy Registrar Academic, conveyed the university’s decision through a press statement on Monday. The closure is initially set for one week, from December 4 to December 10, 2023. The statement emphasized the Vice Chancellor’s approval and directed all undergraduate students on both campuses to vacate the university premises immediately.
The university management expressed concern about the deteriorating situation and emphasized the need to avert further escalation. Zailani Bappa, the Director of Information and Public Relations, explained that the Students Union Government (SUG) distanced itself from the protest. He highlighted efforts to engage in dialogue with the SUG, but the protest proceeded independently.
The students were protesting not only the tragic loss of Agabaidu, a 500-level Geology department student, but also the perceived failure of the government and school management to provide sufficient security for off-campus students. Agabaidu, the eldest of four children from Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State, was brutally murdered while returning to his lodge in Yelwan Tudu.
In the midst of this tragic event, the university has prioritized the safety and well-being of its students, temporarily closing its doors to prevent any further disturbances. The situation underscores broader concerns about student security and the challenges faced by those living off-campus. As the community grapples with this loss, the university administration seeks a path forward to address both immediate and long-term security issues.