Confusion As Kastina University Bans Christian Associations On Campus [See Memo]In response to growing criticisms over the content of a memo issued by the Umar Yar’Adua University, the Dean of Students Affairs at the Katsina university has maintained that there are presently no Christian associations on the campus.
The memo went viral on social media after some observers drew the attention of the public to a questionable part that prohibited all other associations aside the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) from operating on campus.
“Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) is the only religious association allowed to operate on campus,” the memo said.
The rule amounted to a clear discrimination on religious grounds and clear contravention of provisions of the Nigerian constitution.
Section 38 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The right also entails the freedom of worship as well as a right against being compelled to participate in any religion contrary to one’s belief while attending any place of education.
The Nigerian constitution in section 40 thereof, equally guarantees the freedom of peaceful assembly and a right to associate with other persons.
The decision of the Katsina university to allow only the Muslim students society operate on its campus as reads from the surface of the memo could also be seen as an attempt to subvert the intention of Section 10 of the constitution that guarantees that Nigeria shall be a secular state.
Reacting to the criticisms of the university management however, the dean of students affairs, Mr Sulaiman Kankara told Premium Times that the contested aspect of the guideline had nothing to do with religious discrimination
“Actually there is one misconception in the memo. But the fact of the matter is that in Umaru Yar’Ádua University, there is no association known as Christian Students Association,” Kankara said.
The dean added that there was the MSSN and other subsidiary Islamic students associations like the Tijjanniya Students Movement in Nigeria, Academic Forum of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, among others.
He said, “They are Islamic students association. So what we want is to have a single union which will be the mouthpiece of muslim students and that is the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria.
“It has nothing to do with any Christian group because up till now, I have not received any application requesting registration of Christian Students Society.
“And once they do that, we are ready to register them. Even as at last week, we said the two religious groups to be recognised by the university will be the Muslim one and one from Christian side.”
Mr Kankara’s explanation may however not sit down well with many, especially former students who have experienced the systematic manner in which many universities in Nigeria’s north prevent Christian groups from operating n campus while their Muslim counterparts suffer no prohibitions.