Students of the College of Management Sciences (COLMAS), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike MOUAU yesterday protested the new policy by the Federal Government to scrap seven courses offered in the faculty since they are not Agric related.
The affected courses are Accounting, Banking and Finance, Marketing, Economics, Entrepreneurial Studies, Industrial Relations and Business Administration.
The students took their protest to the office of the Dean of the college, Prof John Ihendinihu, demanding that the authorities of the school take steps towards ensuring that the courses are not scrapped
Speaking on this, the President, Association of Management Science Students (AMSS) of the university, Mr Uzoma Onuoha, said that they were disturbed by the news of the scrapping of the courses and wanted to know the steps the management is taking to ensure it does not happen.
“We appeal to you sir to ensure that something is done fast to restore the programmes.
“We can never be violent or engage in any act that would bring shame to the university as we continue to express our dissatisfaction with the policy,” he said.
The students carried placards, some of which read: “Restore our programme in JAMB brochure.
“The scrapped management programmes were approved by relevant professional bodies” and “Management programmes in MOUAU have been in existence since 2003’.”
In response, the dean told the students that the management of the university are on top of the situation, and hope to get positive response from the relevant authority.
He urged the students to remain calm and peaceful.
According to him, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development came up with the policy to scrap non-agriculture courses from the three universities of agriculture in Nigeria namely; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM) and Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).
He alleged that the ministry had relaxed the policy in FUAM and FUNAAB and the affected courses restored in the current JAMB brochure for the two universities.
He said that the decision to relax the policy in the other institutions and exclusion of MOUAU was discriminatory.
He said the university had set up a committee with three professors from the college as members to handle the issue.
Ihendinihu, who was flanked by heads of departments in the college, later told newsmen that the offering of management sciences did not breach the law that established the university.
He said the law “provides for a tripod mandate of teaching, research and extension in agriculture and related/allied disciplines.”
Ihendinihu said MOUAU established six colleges for core agricultural programmes and six other “complementary colleges”, which included COLMAS, to provide foundational courses in “related/allied disciplines.”
He appealed to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, to order the immediate restoration of the scrapped COLMAS programmes in MOUAU as done for the others.
He said that the college had 6,735 regular and 4,196 part-time students as well as 172 members of staff, whose fate was now uncertain because of the new policy.
The dean explained that the policy would further worsen the fate of Abia indigenes seeking university admission.