by Christians Gokyo, Jos
Plateau State Government has directed Commissioner for Higher Education and the Head of Service to immediately engage all stakeholders in resolving the misunderstanding that led to the suspension of the licence of Karl Kumm University (KKU) Vom, Plateau State, owned by the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN).
The State Governor, Simon Lalong, gave the directive when Pro-Chancellor-cum Chairman of Council of the University led members of the Council on a courtesy visit to Government House, Rayfield Jos, on Tuesday.
The governor expressed displeasure over how the new University, which got operational license in 2021, could not take off due to a misunderstanding with the host community over the appointment of the Registrar in line with an MOU signed with them.
According to Lalong, “The issue must be resolved quickly, as the University which had been in incubation for over 18 years was finally given the green light to operate, having fulfilled the conditions of the National Universities Commission (NUC), only to have this joy truncated.”
He said the State Government has restrained itself from meddling in the affairs of the private Institution with the hope that things will be sorted out quickly, but would now have to be involved, based on the request of the Council and the fact that the entire State stands to lose, if the University does not take off.
“Plateau State is known as a hub for education, and we are proud of COCIN for the contribution of its educational institutions, which have produced great minds in Nigeria.
“However, this development at the KKU does not speak well for the State and must be addressed immediately. Just last week, I visited Mr. President and appealed to him to sign the Bill passed by the National Assembly to upgrade Federal College of Education Pankshin to a University of Education. While we are looking for more Universities, we have to show that we are ready to be good hosts,” he noted.
The Pro-Chancellor of KKU, Prof. Ochapa Onazi, informed the governor that the unfortunate incident has robbed the University of one year since the approval of its licence, explaining that the matter in question was very clear and easy to resolve, as the Management of the Institution acted on truth and justice.
He said the decision not to appoint the candidature of the Registrar, which did not go down well with the host community, is not in bad faith but “in keeping with the laid down procedures of ensuring that all staff engaged meet the requirements set by the NUC.”
He said, “We have explained to the host community that we could not have gone ahead to appoint a candidate with deficiencies and create further problems for the new institution. We have also explained to the community the fact that there are other appointments of principal officers for the University yet to be done, which we hope will consider their interest, based on the MOU. However, the youths have refused to bulge, despite all entreaties from us and the plea by the Dagwom Rwei, the Traditional Ruler of the area.”
Prof. Ochapa Onazi explained that the University prefers to embrace dialogue rather than confrontation, which is why despite acts of provocation it has maintained a peaceful posture.
Also, Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Nanven Audu Gambo, said the intervention of the governor will go a long way in ensuring that the University takes off immediately, to avoid further waste of time and resources.
He recalled that throughout the construction of the University, youths of the host community, including the supervising architects, were involved to ensure that they benefit from the institution.
The University also received assurances for the completion of the University Library being carried out by the Plateau State Government.