The controversy trailing the decision of the management of the state-owned Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island Amassoma, to adopt a dress code for the undergraduates of the institution deepened yesterday with the shutting down of academic activities to avoid breakdown of law and order.
The lingering issue of dress code, which stipulates that students of each faculty are expected to dress in a particular colour of uniform to differentiate them from the other, has thrown the student community and the university’s authority against one another despite the government’s call for calm.
Sources within the institution confirmed to LEADERSHIP that the vice chancellor, Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, despite his closed-door meeting with the state commissioner for education, Hon Gentle Emelar, ordered the closure, asking students to vacate the campus on or before 3pm, yesterday.
A statement by the registrar of the institution, Mr Benjamin Joffa, said, “Following the on-going unrest in the university. I am directed to inform the general public and the university community that academic activities have been suspended indefinitely with immediate effect.
“Consequently, all students are directed to vacate the university campuses and facilities on or before 3:00pm today (Wednesday July 7, 2021).”
Although the state government has declined to make a statement on the development despite telephone calls to officials at the time of writing this report, the vice chancellor, Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, is reported to have been summoned by the members of the State House of Assembly over the brouhaha.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the cordial relationship between the institution management and the student community broke down last week following a meeting between the vice chancellor, and the students of the Faculty of Engineering over the decision of the institution’s senate that students adopt a new dress code by putting on approved uniforms on campus.
Some students accused the vice chancellor of degrading the status of the state university by directing that the students sow uniforms to differentiate each faculties in the institution.
A student from the Engineering department, who pleaded anonymity, told LEADERSHIP that the institution purportedly directed all students to start putting on uniform and that no students should bring any uniform from outside except the one the school will issue to him or her. “The price of the uniform is according to department in Engineering, Marine Engineering Department N30,000 per uniform, while other departments in Engineering is N20,000.
“The VC further added in his appeal that those in professional courses like agriculture, medicine, law should also endeavour to follow suit. Other faculties like social sciences, arts, etc were not inclusive,” the student said.