The Borno State Commissioner for Health, Juliana Bitrus, has queried the Provost of the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Rakiya Mustapha, for suspending 20 students who disobeyed an executive order that required them to welcome the President Mohammadu Buhari during his last visit to the state.
In a letter dated 25 June, 2021 and addressed to the provost school of nursing and midwifery, with reference number MOH/PER/752 V.I, the commissioner distanced the state government from the actions of Mustapha and accused her of being mischievous and acting on her own accord.
Bitrus demanded Mustapha’s response to the query within 48hrs with strong reasons why disciplinary actions should be taken against her.
The letter read in part, “Even though it is a normal practice that students join in welcoming visiting Presidents all over Nigeria, such acts are voluntary. More so that students constitute far less than thousands of residents who freely trooped out to welcome the President in all parts of Maiduguri.
“Heads of States and Presidents have been visiting Borno since 1976, and students do join in welcoming them, and no one ever expected 100% compliance in any public mobilisation.
“If any issue involving students was to be raised, how come it was not the Borno State University, which the President commissioned, or schools around projects commissioned by the President?”
The commissioner stated further that the action of the provost is a ploy to embarrass the state government because out of the eight state-owned tertiary institutions in the state, it was only at the college that students were suspended, with signed letters addressed to them.
In a leaked letter to twenty students of the College of Nursing and Midwifery signed by Mustapha, the affected students were asked to vacate their hostels immediately from the 21st of June to return in a week for flouting the school order to welcome the president.
“You are hereby suspended from the college for one week with effect from today 21st of June 2021, for disobedience of executive order to welcome the President of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari GCFR, GCON on the 17th of June 2021.
“You are expected to report back to the college on the 28th of June 2021 along with your parents or guardian,” the letter read.
However, in a statement titled, ‘Re: The suspension of student nurses’, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Borno State chapter, denied the suspension of the students on the allegation of flouting an executive order.
The statement read, “The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives Borno State Council, received with dismay the misinterpretation arising from the letter of suspension issued by College of Nursing and Midwifery Maiduguri, Borno State.
“The Association as a professional body responsible for the conducts of its members, worried by the unfortunate development, quickly paid an unscheduled visit to the management and staff of the college to get first-hand information on the matter at hand.”
“On the strength of the findings and evidence provided, it was revealed that neither the said executive order nor the suspension of the students for refusing to welcome the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was factual. Rather, there was a misinterpretation of what actually transpired.
“On behalf of the entire Nurses and Midwives, the association condemns with strong terms the misinterpretation.”