Bello explains efforts over non-accreditation of Kogi University medical programme

Kogi State Governor, Yahya Bello has explained what his government had been doing about the five year non-accreditation of the medical programme at the Kogi State University.

In an interview with EduCeleb.com in Lokoja, the governor spoke through the Director General, Bureau of Information Services and Grassroots Sensitisation, Abdulkarim Abdulmalik.

He assured students of the school that his government was committed to all round development as he enjoined them to be patient.

Recall that students of KSU Medical School had earlier in the week embarked on protests over the five year long accreditation challenge. They demanded action toward the restoration of the accreditation. In response to that, the government said that education tops its priority.

“Education takes the front burner of Yahya Bello‘s New Direction Agenda. When you take education away, there is no development. Education is the foundation of whatever good you expect from the society.

“The Kogi State University is the flagship of tertiary educational institutions in the state. Therefore, no responsible government would be in place and not want to give that institution the deserving attention,” he stated.

Accreditation challenge preceded Bello

The communications chief emphasised that the problem that led to the loss of accreditation of programmes at the KSU preceded the current administration of Bello and efforts had been ongoing to correct the anomalies.

“When we came on board, what we met on ground was that which successive administrations that handled the university left behind. Late Governor Abubakar Audu established the university and equipped it with sufficient facilities before take off.”

“Thereafter, the medical college was added to it by another administration. The then government, was very ambitious about having a medical college for the institution in Kogi State. But, unfortunately, the needed infrastructure was not put in place and this is why the college lost accreditation from the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) for clinical training,” he said.

EduCeleb.com reports that the Kogi State University was established in 1999 by the Abubakar Audu administration in Anyigba. The additional Medical School was established by the Idris Wada administration on 29th February, 2011 and commenced admission of students in October, 2012.

With the lack of accreditation for Medicine since inception, the state government under Governor Bello shut the college in November 2017 to review its operations, and took up the challenge of financing the education of 25 students in other universities where they could complete their education.

Various students transferred from KSU are all on full scholarship at one of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, and the University of Ilorin, Ilorin where they are currently schooling.

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“The government of Yahya Bello took a stand to study the whole situation and saw that there was a need to set up a committee to look into the myriad of problems associated with the college.”

“The first step taken was to suspend the college while students were sent to other institutions that had accreditation to continue their medical training at the expense of the state government,” he said.

Pending recommendations

Our correspondent was able to establish that on 7th December, 2016, a 16-man committee, which Bello mandated to study the recommendations submitted by the Commissioner for Health, Saka Haruna Audu on the subject matter was inaugurated.

Mr Abdulmalik confirmed that the committee inaugurated by the government was to review the situation and profer solutions to the challenges at hand. He however said that he could not provide details about the recommendations of the committee as presented before the government when EduCeleb.com sought to have it.

“The government set up the committee to review all the options available and solve the many problems of the college. The committee submitted its report not long ago before the State Executive Council. The Council took a decision that that medical college is a must done.

“Therefore, government is going to put in all resources available to ensure that the medical college take its place of pride. We are very serious about it and the government is not going to back out on that,” he said.

A copy of Dr Audu’s recommendations as obtained by EduCeleb.com included the need to “retrieve a comprehensive checklist from NUC/MCDN on accreditation requirements for the establishment of the clinical wing/teaching hospital for the training for the training of Medical students up to 600 Level as this will assist the state government to make a holistic plan and budget”.

The Commissioner also recommended that a Committee of Stakeholders be constituted to look into the various options available to provide clinical training for our medical students in line with NUC/MDCN regulations.

Four options were suggested in the process. One, is the renovation and upgrade of Kogi State University Teaching Hospital to a standard teaching hospital.

Another option was the speeding up of the completion of the the abandoned project at the permanent site of the teaching hospital in Anyigba. The third was to affiliate the Medical School with existing standard Hospitals within the state, particularly the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.

The Commissioner also proposed the exploitation of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement “with a willing Private organisation”.

On all these, the committee was expected to brief the Council on the Cost implication including staffing and equipment “in facts and figures”.

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During their protests, students claimed that the said committee report which they claimed recommended the stoppage of the medical programme was submitted about year ago, but the Communications DG insisted that the report was only submitted in March, 2018.

“It was just last month that the committee submitted the report,” he said, while also explaining that the government’s decision of closing the medical school was not alien as a similar situation occurred at the University of Abuja some years back.

One of the students who spoke on the condition of anonymity noted that rather than recommending the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja, the government “decided to go for an upgrade of an ill-staffed, unequipped and structurally backward diagnostic hospital in the town of the University for selfish reasons”, with reference to the current state of the Medical School facility.

“The state has been unable to start anything on the site despite approval of the budget which sits at a wooping 1.7billion Naira,” a student claimed.

Another student said the situation was taking a negative toll on the health of students who are now contemplating suicide since they had lost hope in ever graduating soon.

The student observed that rather than upgrading the secondary health facility within the university village, already known as the Kogi State Diagnostic Hospital in Anyigba to a teaching hospital erstwhile governor, Idris Wada started “his own pet project”.

Wada was said to have built a new hospital from the scratch, which he did not complete till he left office in 2015. The project remains abandoned.

He said the coming of Bello made no difference either as there had not been any new developments beyond the committee set up.

“Governor Yahaya Bello set up a committee for the accreditation of the College of Medicine and for the almost 4years he has been in power, I tell you that no block has been laid.

“I don’t know if I would graduate in the next 10years. Some medical students have even threaten to commit suicide because of the humiliation and frustration. We are frustrated and our parents are in pain,” he said.

A part of the recommendations document presented by Dr Audu particularly included that the goal was make sure that the campus remained in Anyigba but nothing has been made of its contents, to public knowledge.

Government’s assurances

Mr Abdulmalik assured all of the state government’s commitment to reforming the system despite meagre resources.

“The state government is interested in that institution and we want to give it a strength that would make it enjoy accreditation,” he added.

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On the timeline of the government to solve the problem, he emphasised that the accreditation issue was not the only matter before the government as there were many other issues begging for attention in the state. He said that the government could not set a timeline around that.

“What is important is the need to show the political will to ensure that all the problems of the institution that made it not to be accredited are solved and certainly, government is on that,” he stated.

An earlier report by EduCeleb.com indicated that two sets of medical students were still in 200 level (A and B) while another was in 300, just as new students could not be admitted for the programme.

Mr Abdulmalik explained that these students were not all covered in the exercise of transferring students depending on their level.

He also acknowledged that these students’ cases needed attention but cautioned that there was no way the government of the Confluence State could transfer all students from the school.

“The students are our children. Their future is very important to us. That is why the government is going the extra mile in spite of the meagre resources available to ensure that the medical college sees the reality of the day.”

“Our government will never allow a single individual in the state to suffer any unnecessary hardship and that is why we are going the extra mile to make sure that the committee report, which had been adopted is implemented. So, they have to be patient for the implementation,” he said.

 

A student said that rather than upgrading the secondary health facility within the university village, already known as the Kogi State Diagnostic Hospital in Anyigba to a teaching hospital erstwhile governor, Idris Wada started “his own pet project”. Wada was said to have built a new hospital from the scratch, which he didn’t complete till he left office. The project remains an abandoned project.

He said the coming of Bello made no difference either as there had not been any new developments beyond the committee set up.

“Governor Yahaya Bello set up a committee for the accreditation of the College of Medicine and for the almost 4years he has been in power, I tell you that no block has been laid.

“I don’t know if I would graduate in the next 10years. Some medical students have even threaten to commit suicide because of the humiliation and frustration. We are frustrated and our parents are in pain,” he said.

News Reporter
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