The Management of the University and I are delighted to welcome our beloved students back to campus for the continuation of the 2019/2020 academic session, long disrupted by the combined effect of COVID-19 Pandemic and ASUU strike. We are conscious of the anxiety and frustration caused students while these problems manifested simultaneously with the entire university system under lockdown for most part of 2020.
To further thicken the atmosphere of uncertainty, the university became a target of the wave of vandalisation and looting of property following the endsars protests of October last year. In the orgy of violence on our institution, the cost of which has been well publicized, the halls of residence in Malabor and the female hostels were badly affected, thus worsening the already squalid condition of the hostels. We are aware and concerned that a number of students lost some of their belongings left in the hostels, regrettably.
We are immensely grateful to God for lifting the cloud of uncertainty over the university system, protecting our students throughout the Pandemic and leading them safely back to campus to continue their academic pursuit and effort to lay a solid foundation for the bright future that awaits them all.
The welfare of our students is very dear to my heart and paramount on our administration’s agenda. In line with this spirit and in spite of the university being on its knees financially, we undertook massive, unprecedented rehabilitation of the hostels by changing all wooden doors to iron, replacing window protectors, wardrobes, fans, overhauling of the plumbing system, fixing of the vandalized electrical installations, painting, etc. All of these, in addition to the modification of the security architecture, are aimed at making the hostels more comfortable and safe.
It was for reasons of satisfactorily getting completed the massive rehabilitation work and ensuring that adequate arrangements are made for efficient municipal services that compelled us to take the painful decision of delaying opening of hostels for some days. While acknowledging the difficulties that this decision would have caused some students, we deeply appreciate the understanding demonstrated so far.
As you return to campus and settle down to your studies, the need to be conscious that COVID-19 is still ravaging and that the environment is no longer the same as you left it cannot be overstated. Therefore, I urge you to comply with the prescribed precautionary measures against the spread of the virus by wearing your face mask, maintaining physical distancing, washing of hands and the use of hand sanitisers.
It is also pertinent to bring to your attention that the 10pm–6am curfew in Calabar imposed since October 2020 is still in full force because of the unsettling security situation. We appeal to students to be conscious of this, be guided and mindful of when, where and whom they relate with.
Let me use this opportunity to assure you of my readiness and that of my administration to ensure that we create the environment that would bring out the best from our students. I implore you to co-operate with the Management to move the university forward.
Thank you, welcome back, stay safe and remain blessed.
Prof. Florence Banku Obi