The Federal Government has ordered the closure of all universities and inter-university centres across the country between February 22 and March 14 over security concerns.
Acting on the directive of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the National Universities Commission (NUC), in a circular to all Vice-Chancellors of all universities and directors/chief executive of inter-university centres, urged all the universities to vacate during the election period.
The circular, dated February 3 was signed by the Deputy Executive Secretary, Administration, NUC, Mr Chris Maiyaki.
It was confirmed by the acting Director, Public Affairs of NUC, Lawal Ajo through a telephone conversation, saying the circular emanated from the Commission.
“Though I’m away, and have not seen the letter, I have called to confirm from the office that it is true,” Ajo said.
The circular entitled: “Ministerial directive on the closure of all universities and inter-university centres during the upcoming 2023 general elections,” reads: “As Vice-Chancellors of all Universities and Directors Chief Executives of Inter-University Centres you are quite aware, the 2023 General Elections have been scheduled to hold on Saturday 25” February 2023, for the Presidential and National Assembly, and Saturday 11th March 2023 for Gubernatorial and State Assembly, respectively.
“In view of the foregoing and concerns expressed on the security of staff, students and properties of our respective institutions, the Honourable Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu has following extensive consultations with the relevant security agencies, directed that all Universities and Inter-University Centres be shut down and academic activities be suspended between 22nd February and 14th March 2023.
“Consequently, Vice-Chancellors, as well as Directors/Chief Executives of inter-university centres, are by this Circular requested to shut down their respective Institutions from Wednesday 22″ February 2023 to Tuesday 14″ March 2023.”
The National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) had called on the Federal Government to close the schools during the elections to allow students who registered in their various homes during the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to be able to exercise their franchise.
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi had also made a case for the closure of tertiary institutions to allow over three million registered students to vote during the general election.
There had been apprehension over the security situation around the country occasioned by activities of bandits and attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in some States in the build-up to the general election.
This has been exacerbated by the fuel and naira scarcities, even though security agencies have continued to assure Nigerians all efforts have been put in place for hitch-free and peaceful polls.