Monday morning, of the University of Abuja blocked entrance to the school, protesting stalled medical programmes at Uniabuja without accreditation.
The students demanded to be transferred to other universities, complaining they were tired of the school authorities “lying to us, deceiving us, our productive years.”
They have also demanded that the university pay each medical student N10 million each in compensation for the “torture” of attending school for nearly a decade without accreditation.
The peaceful protest prompted the cancellation of set for thousands of distance-learning students.
Early on, the students were met with heavy campus security intent on forcing open the school gates, which the protesters had sealed. Students claim security forced the gates open and threw stones at them, with one insisting one of the ‘used a knife’ on him.
Security “broke down we kept on the gate, they started stoning,” he said. “We were on our own. I was sitting in front of the gate. All of a sudden something came on [my back]. I turned back to see what happened, then I saw a cutlass.”
Officials insist school authorities could not have ordered heavy and armed crackdown on protesting students.
Moves to accredit medical sciences of Abuja have been stalled for long, and students say they cannot afford to keep waiting indefinitely.
“People who were still in school when we started medical school have already graduated, but ,” lamented Uchenna. “We just want to be transferred to other schools. Let’s start out lives.”
Their justification for a N10 million compensation comes from they have committed to studies for the past eight years — yearly tuition, off-campus accommodation costing up to N200,000 per year.
“It was never our fault. It was in JAMB we applied for medicine at University of Abuja,” said Uchenna.
Among placards on display, one read: “8 years and still in 300 level”
Without MBBS exams since 2005, the medical students — more than 100 of them so far — have never officially reached their fourth year of .
“Most of our students have been at home for the past five years. It is an infringement on our right to education. All the final-year students in this school met me in this school. For how long will this continue?” asks one student. “I will only leave this school when they gave me transfer, and I want the transfer to be done within the shortest possible time. We are tired of waiting for school management that are inept in getting issues done.”
Another student says: “Because hostel accommodation are not enough, we pay N250,000 every year. This is enough for us to go outside Nigeria to school and we are hoping that one day we will graduate from a university in Nigeria — and someone is sitting upon it playing politics with out future. We want to be transferred from University of Abuja. We have been posted for too long.”