By Toby Prince
The Taraba State University has expelled a student for criticising Governor Darius Ishaku on Facebook.
Joseph Israel is a 100 level student of Chemistry but later switched to Laboratory Science in the state-owned university.
A letter dated September 20, 2019, signed by the Deputy Register Academic, Yakubu Fwa, addressed to Mr Israel accused the student of failure to attend students’ matriculation ceremony and refusal to fill the matriculation form.
“Further take notice that the withdrawal of the said admission is hinged on your inability to complete the registration processes of Taraba State University, Jalingo, as approved by the relevant university regulation and which makes you a ghost student”, the letter partly reads.
But a local activist, Jen Jibrin, told PREMIUM TIMES, that reason given by the institution was a smokescreen to ‘deal’ with the student who is a well-known online critic of the governor.
A run through Mr Israel’s Facebook page shows his strident criticism of Mr Ishaku’s leadership.
On April 26, the student posted: “FACR: If Gov Darius sells seven cars in his convoy alone, he will solve the problems of Taraba State University”.
“Governor Darius is a tested and trusted failure, the 100 days of any government shows the direction of that government, the Darius administration has no direction, his government is the worst in the 28 years of existence of Taraba Sate. I call on all those whose hopes are high to keep their hopes down till 2023 maybe we’ll have a proactive and a serious governor”, he wrote on September 10.
The withdrawal letter from Mr Fwa did not quote the exact provisions which make absconding from matriculation ceremony an offence punishable with dismissal.
Documents seen by this newspaper showed that the university’s management summoned Mr Israel before a malpractice committee which deals with issues of indiscipline and academic wrongdoings.
The student appeared before the committee on July 15, 2019, as instructed.
Mr Israel said when the committee confronted him over his criticism of the governor, he asked the committee if there is any law in the university stopping students from using social media and expressing their views on governance in the state.
He claimed the committee could not provide an answer. He said he was asked to go until the investigation is concluded.
“By this act of cruelty, it is very sad to assume that Taraba State is now confronted with the highest rate of hypocrisy and conspiracy among public office holders and members of academic environment who have reduced the educational sector to ridicule,” said Mr Jibrin, a Jalingo-based activist.
When contacted for further clarification on the matter, Mr Fwa acknowledged knowing about the issue but pleaded to be called 15 minutes later.
He did not respond to subsequent calls by our reporter.