The bus puffed, moving sluggishly as the tires made monotonous hisses to a halt. A security officer decked in a dust-coated uniform of the Nigerian army had flagged the bus down a few metres away for inspection along the Koko – Jega highway. The bus was heading to Sokoto from Ilorin. The officer’s light was on full beam to the discomfort of passengers (students of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto) who could barely protest for fear of a rapport that may stir a gulf. This time, the overbearing noise that had enveloped the air soon abated. The driver who had also fiddle with the radio to fill the bus lowered the tunes. For the minutes, there was an exchange of duties between fear and silence as one of the officers approached the driver.
“Students,” the driver muttered. He tried to reignite the ignition, but the officer wouldn’t budge instantly. He demanded proof of studentship from one of the students, pointing specifically at Ibrahim Lukman Arowolo, 200 L student of biochemistry whose hair had grown grey from perpetual invasion by specks of dust hovering the rickety road, and sat near the windscreen of the fourteen-seater bus the officer was standing.
But, Ibrahim has no student’s identity card. Within a split second, fear gripped his innocuous demeanor. The bus was stranded as his troubled mind scoured through emptiness for an identity card that never existed. He wore a confused, unexpressive face that the seemingly random thoughts that squirrelled through him bemoan the management for the ‘unfortunate’ situation he was stuck over the “little that matters” which the management has not provided.
“I was frightened. The soldier insisted that I must provide the ID card. I don’t have any student ID except the confirmation letter that was given us when we were admitted a year ago and it was in my luggage.”
Ibrahim is resuming for the second year, 2019/2020, but the school is yet to issue students’ identity cards for those admitted – including Ibrahim – for the 2018/2019 academic year. The timely intervention of his fellow students calms the tense atmosphere that ensconced what seems a short-term grill.
In Nigerian Universities, possession of University identity cards by students is compulsory. The Student Affairs Division of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto is responsible for the issuance of identity card to students upon the payment of prescribed fees determined by the university management
According to the University Students’ handbook, students must identify himself/herself by providing identity card when required. Students who do not have an identity card may be denied access to University facilities or other benefits meant for students especially as a pass into the examination hall.
Like Ibrahim – and a large swath of students who are yet to be issued students’ identity cards, there is no means of identifying themselves as students of the University. Also, claiming other entitlements could take extra miles to prove as most students hardly meandered with their confirmation letter – 210 X 297-millimetre sized document – given at the point of confirmation of admission for fear of misplacing it.
More Worries: Tales of Danfodiyo 2018/2019 Admitted Students
There is currently a whirlwind of disquiet among students of the varsity over the failure of the management to issue an ID card. That it cost him opportunities is the grouse Sheriff Oshubiyi, 200 Level student of law, has against the management. Crestfallen, Sheriff bemoaned the tardiness of the management in issuing identity cards to them, stressing there are opportunities he forfeited due in large part to the ID card he could not provide.
“It is very disheartening that up till now we have not been issued our school ID card. This issue is something that we are very sad about. Come to think of it, the fact that we are yet to be given the ID card is affecting us as students because there are some occasions whereby we need the card but since we are yet to be given, we won’t be able to make use of it. As a student, there was an Oratory contest for university students which I have been eyeing for a long time but I could not because they requested an identity card,” said Sheriff.
While relating an Oratory contest he missed because he could not provide proof he is a university student, he urged the management to exigently provide the ID card to avoid similar delays in the issuance of the cards for the newly admitted students.
I hope the school management would resolve this matter by issuing the ID card to the concerned students to focus on the new students” he said.
Another student who goes by a name, Barakat, 200 Level student of political science, submission does not eclipse sheriff’s. According to her, the non-issuance of an ID card in spite of being a second-year student cast a bleak shadow on her interest to apply for opportunities that required the card. For Barakah, whenever she sees one (scholarship, symposium, etc.) she overlooks it.
Apart from missing out opportunities, identity card also distinguishes students from natives. In a university, as flooded by out-of-school children who mostly engage in menial jobs as UDUS, students are identified by their outward apparel.
“I have stopped bothering myself about applying for scholarships that require me to submit my proof of studentship because we don’t have one. Some of us need the ID card to apply for opportunities, but we could not.
Often time, this card is requested by security personnel along highways whenever we are travelling back home, if not for those in higher levels that provide it, who knows? We might be tagged criminals. We just hope we would be given before it is too late”
Disappointed. Adedeji Mutmainah, 200 L student of public administration, stressed that the delay in the issuance of ID card stemmed from maladministration which, according to her, should have been given in her first year as done in other universities. Adedeji who was feeling understandably antsy in her first year about the school ID card felt disappointed when after a session she has not been issued.
“We should have been given the id card to serve as evidence that we are a student of this school. Imagine any of us engage in a brawl and he claims to be a student of UDUS, is there any proof to support his claim? It is greatly disheartening. With this development, the onus lies solely on the management because the card should have been issued to us seen our first year. I was expecting it, and it is quite uncalled for.”
Marshalling her thoughts, Adedeji who was obliged to enroll for the national identity card could not provide proof of her studentship while applying for an educative programme, said: “Literally, it is just like we are not yet a student of the university. Last session, I wanted to enroll in an accounting program, but I couldn’t. The organisers requested my school identity card during registration which obviously I don’t have. I had to go extra miles, enrolled for NIMC card because I could not provide any proof that I am a university student.” She recalled, expressing her concern
Another 200 L student of Agriculture, Olashile Muneerat, faulted the management for the delay. She revealed that tardiness would result in clumsiness when it is eventually issued.
“It is unpleasing that after a session – and we are still counting, the school has not deemed it fit to give us an identity card. How do they want to do it with the newly admitted students? She asked rhetorically “that is, they would be attending to two classes of students – 2018/2019 and this year admitted student. How do they want to do it simultaneously with it being stuffy?”
In her eyes contempt bride hopelessness. She stated that without the ID card she is more or less no different from ‘Yaro Boys’ (underage kids who do menial jobs on campus). She, therefore, urged the management to fill the glitches that led to the delay to give tardiness a wide berth in the administration of the university
Drawing an analogy of Kwara state university prompt issuance of student’s ID card to her newly admitted students, Abdulwakil Busari, 200L student of Engineering, fault the lateness of the management on student’s identity card. With anger visibly written on his face, identity cards differentiate between students and visitors, he posited. And a university hemmed by satellite villages with their population as the university, Abdulwakil feels insecure.
‘The delay is uncalled for. Almost all universities issue ID cards to their students immediately after the matriculation. For instance, newly admitted students of Kwara state university have been given their ID cards. Here, we are in 200 L, we have not been issued, what fate would then befall UDUS newly admitted students if not the same fate? He inquired in open-ended Yoruba accent
“I don’t have any grouse against the management, they should just give us the id card because we don’t have any means of identification except the confirmation letter. And to that extent, we are not secure. With the id card, we would be able to differentiate between Yaro boys and students”
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