Governor Nasir el-Rufai is the visitor to the Kaduna State University. Recently, the university authorities suspended a lecturer for what they termed a hate post made by the lecturer on his face book page. In this report, GABRIEL UDEH writes that it may not be in the place of Governor el-Rufai, a social media activist to punish another for same social media activism
A lecturer of the Kaduna State University, Dr John Danfulani is under suspension for what the authorities describe as statements capable of inciting religious uprising in Kaduna State.
He was not only suspended, he was detained by the police. Dr Danfulani, an activist and a renowned non conformist had posted on his face book page saying, “To them, APC is a religious party. Northern leaders under the party are demigods and crusaders of their ways of life. These people living in dusty villages of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa are quick in calling you ‘Arne or Kafiri’ (Meaning Pagan) once you express your view on anything their God PMB and his brigade of small Angels are doing. Attack the attacker, and lets the skies fall”.
This was all that was needed for the school authorities to suspend him. In a query letter dated January 6 and signed by the university’s registrar, Mrs Talatu Kuri, it said, “The content of the publication you authored is divisive, injurious to the University and tantamount to hate speech capable of inciting particular group of students against staff and other students. This behaviour is unbecoming of a lecturer who is supposed to mould students’ character and impart learning.”
In his response, Dr Danfulani said he was not furnished with details of his offence. “It is a large world of dozens of platforms, most of which are yet to be in full practice in Nigeria. I have pages that upload my opinions on multifaceted local and international issues when my conscience and spirit direct me to do so. Because of this, I do not know on which of the platforms the piece that generated this query was hoisted because your query did not contain such details. My wall, updates and writings in the social media are all in my private capacity and not in my official capacity as a Lecturer with the University”, he wrote.
Not satisfied with the reply, the university through the registrar via a letter dated January 8, 2015 suspended him. The letter reads in part, “We refer to our letter of query dated 5th January, 2016 requesting you to explain within 48 hours why disciplinary action will not be taken against you for gross misconduct and confirm that you failed to respond. In line with S15 (1) 4 of KASU staff Conditions of Service, the Vice Chancellor has suspended you from duty forthwith and will report the matter to Council.
“You will be placed on half salary as per S15 (1)7 of KASU staff conditions of Service, until the Council considers and decides on your case please”.
Then enters the Kaduna State Police Commissioner, CP, Umar Kofar-Naisa. The Kaduna police boss ordered the Vice Chancellor University, Professor Williams Barnabas Quirx, to produce Danfulani.
The police invitation letter dated January 21, 2015, with reference No CR: 3000/KDS/X/D6/Vol.82/150, signed by CP Umar Kofar-Niasa, read “This Department is investigating the above mentioned case involving one of your lecturers, Dr. John Danfulani.
“You are kindly requested to release him to interview the undersigned through O/C General Surveillance State SCIID Kaduna on 25/01/2006 at about 1000hrs to enable us complete our investigation.”
However a group, Nerzit Patriotic Front, in conjunction with Northern Nigerian Youth Christian League and Southern Kaduna Lawyers, among other pressure groups kicked against the suspension of the lecturer, asking KASU to rescind its decision, but the university remained adamant.
Even when the groups threatened state authority that it would go to court, and that KASU would be seen acting to please the state government in “persecuting Dr. John Danfulani because he holds a different political ideology, ethnic and religious leaning with the government of the day”, this also fell on deaf ears.
This is not the first time this activist cum lecturer is daring the authorities. Danfulani had last November addressed a press conference in Kaduna, where he condemned the government of El Rufai as “anti-people”. He has also spoken against what he termed as the “genocide” against Nigeria Shiite last year. The suspension of the lecturer, which prompted another vocal Kaduna group, the Netzit Patriotic Front to kick against the action, did not come as a surprise to some people.
The chairman of the group, Mr. George Makeri addressed a press conference in Kaduna at Catholic Media Center and said: “KASU should resist the temptation of involving itself into matters outside its jurisdiction”, also adding that the “ideological leanings, political preferences, religious beliefs and personal life of its workers should not be their concern.
“What they should focus on is, productivity of employees; the value they are adding to the system vis–a-vis the aim of the institution. On the strength of our observations, we hereby beseech KASU to immediately withdraw its suspension and bury its intentions to victimise Dr John Danfulani further because of his faith and ethnic background.
“If this suspension stands, we shall go ahead and take all legal measures and pressures to see that this ethnic-centered agenda don’t stand. KASU is for all, not for any particular ethnic or religious group. We will indefatigably resist injustice of any form against the doctor.”
The apparent persecution of Dr Danfulani has left many observers asking why Governor el-Rufai who equally had used the social media platform to criticize past governments, both state and federal will be the one supervising the suspension of Dr Danfulani?
For instance, sometime in 2013, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai in order to mock some of President Goodluck Jonathan’s aides, ended up using his twitter handle to mock Jesus Christ. This rankled many feathers then, but the highest el-Rufai did was to put up an apology. El-Rufai had tweeted then “If Jesus criticizes
Jonathan’s govt, Maku/Abati/Okupe will say he slept with Mary Madgalene.”….LWKMD.”
The question on the lips of every observer is what punishment did el-Rufai serve when he even engaged in a greater divisive and inciting post? Is this a case of unequal animals?

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