RE: SPECIAL REPORT INVESTIGATION: Zamfara Moribund Varsity Operates From Primary School.



           Fidelis Mac-Leva

The teeming readers of this highly respected newspaper of northern Nigeria divide, might have read an article on Daily Trust Newspaper on Sunday, 10 Apr 2022, being an investigative report by one of its reporters Fedelis Mac - Leva where he castigated the government of His Excellency Governor Bello Matawallen Maradun for what Fidelis described as deliberate refusal by the governor to fund the university, but without cogent prove or evidence of the conclusion of his speculative hypothesis called investigative. It is unfortunate that Mr Fidelis failed to established in the first instance, the history of the establishment of the University, but rather jumped into conclusion based on his mindset and the interest of those who engaged him to do the dirty job. 

Well, the daily trust has the privilege to carry out any investigations it deems fit, but for the sake of the common man who do not have the eye to see or mouth to talk on public issues and to make its publication public in order educate, informed and entertain members of the public to creat awareness among them regarding the happenings within their environment, both within and outside the shores of the Nigerian soil.

However, in doing so, one must get it right. As professional investigative journalist, what baffles me in the investigation and the publication was the manner it was carried out and published, which entirely went against the ethics and principles of investigative journalism and or standard journalism globally.

First of all, the language and presentation of the report revealed that the reporter has taken side in a political battle he could not explain. Besides, the investigation is inconclusive with hasty mind to fault find Governor Matawalle, which clearly indicated that the report was a sponsored one intended to tarnish the good image of the governor. 

This is unethical, immoral and a landscape corruption, which I believe wasn't the usual practice of the Daily trust  newspaper I knew and the professionalism of its founding fathers.

Secondly, I expected the reporter to stop at investigation and findings, but rather went neyond taking the position of a chief judge, prosecuting Gov Matawalle, to the extent of glaringly involving himself in the story which is also against the ethics of the news writing. Based on my experience as an investigative journalist the reporter was serving someone's interest, rather than uplifting the dignity and integrity of the newspaper.

In short, there is no professionalism, honesty and sincerity of purpose in the investigation. This is why almost all the facts he presented to the readers are false and misleading.

To buttress our point here, just about two weeks ago we issued a on the efforts the state government is making towards putting basic structures and manpower for the university to continue, but the reporter ignored the facts contained in the statement, using just its periphery for reason best known to him, despite serving him with a copy of that government statement, misleading the general public about the university to discourage students from seeking admission into the university, simply because it belongs to the northern divide.

Anyway, for the records, the desire to establish a state University for Zamfara is an age-old one. Since the creation of the state in 1996, efforts were made by the previous administrations to make this dream a reality, but such efforts were not met with success.

The immediate past administration, under the leadership of His Excellency Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar, decided to revisit the issue by setting up a committee, comprising of academics, technocrats from the state civil service and some members of the State House of Assembly, to advise the Government on the issue. Finally, after following the due process, the recommendations of both the University Establishment and Implementation Committees were approved by the Executive Governor then' as a result of which the University was approved by the NUC to take-off in 2018. 

The University started its operations in April, 2019 with the faculties of Basic Medical Sciences, Science, Education and Arts, Social & Management Sciences. However, actual academic activities began on the 10th June, 2019, with a total number of admitted students reaching six hundred and eighty-two (682), but only four hundred and sixty-two (462) registered as at the time when academic activities began.

In order for the University to commence academic activities in the 2018/2019 session as approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Implementation Committee in consultation with the state government; resolved to utilise some available structures at Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, Talata Mafara as the take-off (temporary) site. The site was visited by the NUC officials and approval was given by the Commission for the commencement of the session at the site. Consequently, visiting lecturers were engaged in lecturing the students pending approval for recruitment of staff. 

Following the appointment of Prof. Lawal Suleman Bilbis (Chairman, Implementation Committee/Ag. VC) as the Vice Chancellor, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto with effect from 29th July, 2019, His Excellency the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, Hon.(Dr.) Bello Mohammed Matawalle directed that Prof. Bilbis should hand over the affairs of the University to Professor Mu’azu Abubakar Gusau whose appointment was finally approved by the Executive Governor as the substantive Vice Chancellor alongside Registrar and Bursar on the 18th April, 2020 as well as appointment of the Director Physical Planning and Development in May 2020. Professor Gusau was later appointed as the Vice Chancellor of Federal University, Gusau which resulted in the appointment Proof Zakari Yahaya to take over from Muazu, effective from 10th February, 2021.

Following Covid -19, prof Zakari  met the university closed with several steps being taken to ensure its re-opening for academic activities. The new Vice Chencellor presented a request for payment of outstanding visiting lecturers’ allowances inherited from the previous administration and approval was granted out of which 90 percent of the debt was paid to the lecturers. The University was re-opened on the 26th June, 2021 and continued with second semester 2018/2019 and completed examinations for same semester in September, 2021. Similarly, the government released funds for payment of the engaged visiting lecturers from the month of July to September 2021 without any interruption. While other administrative and casual staff were paid up to date. 



At the time, Governor Matawalle came into office, the University had no management staff to properly steer the affairs of the University, he instantly approved the appointments of pioneer principal officers and recently, the State Government  granted approval for the recruitment of 265 academic and 300 non-academic staff for the University, consequent upon the approval, the University in collaboration with the State Government Committee assigned for the exercise are working tirelessly to finalize the exercise.

 Currently the university has a Staff strength of One Hundred and Sixteen (116) Visiting lecturers, Thirteen (13) Non-Teaching Staff and forty four (44) Casual Staff, making a total of 173 staff in the university.

Staff Training and Developmently: Preparations by the institution has reached advanced stage to sponsor academic staff to obtain various higher degrees (Ph. D. and M. Sc.) within and outside the country through both take off grant and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) interventions.

 On students enrollment / population, the University has a total number of one thousand twenty seven (1027) full-time  undergraduate students studying degree programmes  at 100 and 200 levels reapectively at the institution in the following fields of study:

Basic Medical Sciences, Nursing Science, Nutrition & Diet, Public Health, Physiotherapy Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Electronics, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Arts, Management & Social Science, Accounting, Arabic, Economics, English Lang, History, Islamic Studies, Mass Communication, Education, Primary Education, Early Childhood Education, Educ./Biology, Educ./Chemistry, Educ./Maths, Educ./Physics,

Educ./Economics, Educ./English, Educ./History and Educ./Isl. Studies.

 Matriculation Programme:

The Management of the University has approved the preparations for takeoff of Matriculation programme in 2019/2020 session, however, the programme could not hold due to crona virus pandemic. It is however gratifying to note that the mateiculation programme has already started in the 2020/2021 academic session with One Hundred and Twenty-Six (126) admitted candidates.

On the accreditation of the University by the National Universities Commission (NUC), the University currently runs thirty-two (32) undergraduate academic programmes of which all have interim accreditation. The University is also awaiting/expecting full accreditation visit by the NUC in the last quota of this year 2022 on all the programmes mounted during its take-off. 

On the accreditation by Professional Bodies, the University is making arrangement with varoous professional bodies of the programmes mounted for resource visit/accreditation.

The University is also making arrangement to establish contacts and linkages in order to sign memoranda of understanding (MoU) with many Nigerian and Foreign Universities to partner with them for development.

TETFund has already Enlisted the Institution to be among the Tetfund beneficiaries as the 47th State Universities in Nigeria.

As a result, the University has since started receiving allocations from the Tetfund and Needs Assessment through which we established and furnished several laboratories, construction of Faculty of Social Science, Geology laboratory and purchase of vehicles etc.

It may interest the teeming readers of this highly respected newspaper to note that, the University has written to other donor organizations/agencies requesting for partnership and/or intervention to the University. These organizations include Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), NITDA, PTDF etc.

Other achievements

During the take-off of the academic activities of the University; teaching and research equipment as well as library and ICT facilities were not available, as a result; arrangements have been made to utilize the ones available at Abdu Gusau Polytechnic Talata Mafara on temporary basis.

Currently, the University moved to its structure provided by His Excellency, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle where academic and administrative activities are currently being carried out. Presently, the University has all relevant well equipped laboratories as required by the NUC, meant for students’ practical lessons. Other  facilities like innovative teaching aids for use by lecturers for power point presentation, interactive boards, mobile public address system, standard library, ICT and many others meant for teaching are provided in the University.

 On students' welfare, the investigator could not tell his readers that the students are enjoying some welfare packages such as utility services and other recreational facilities. While admitted students are temporarily housed in the hostels borrowed from Abdu Gusau Polytechnic T/Mafara, pending the completion of the ongoing construction of students’ hostels at the permanent site of the University. 

There is no where Mr Fidelis mentioned he has been to the NUC, Tetfund, CBN, etc to know their take regarding the university before going to press, instead went ahead to be speaking on their behalf which is totally unacceptable in investigative journalism. The report is therefore half done and misleading.


If my friend Fedelis didn't know and refused to ask because he was serving someone's interest in the investigation, it is pertinent to note that: 

1. Starting a university  is not like a Turnkey residential building project in which all that is envisaged for the University including administrative  structures and physical infrastructures are developed and delivered at inception. 

2. Provision of learning equipment and facilities in a university is supposed to be a process of development over time and is determined by prevailing needs and priorities.

3. Embarking on developing a university is similar to any investment which must go through various stages from, incubation stage to maturity, over a long period of time. Zamfara State University is at inception stage and can not be expected to have all it requires at this point.

4. The world top universities have not yet reached the pinnacle of their development.  They are still introducing new courses and establishing new faculties necessitating construction of new structures. For example Stanford University of Carlifornia, which accounts for most of successful innovation dynamics in the Silicon valley has not yet covered half of its 33 sq km land after 136 years of its existence. Every  University, as knowledge increases through experiments and reseaches, keeps introducing new courses brought about by extention of frontiers of knowledge to keep abreast with research findings in sciences. This further buttresses the fact that development of University is not an overnight affair. It requires planning, prioritization, enormous resources and time.

Take for instance, part of the arguement by ASUU is that the Nigerian universities must be properly equipped. This means, despite the long time the Nigerian universities have taken, they are still not properly equipped, yet they produced graduates and may be you are one.

5. There is no Nigerian University that took off from its permanent sites. Most of them started on borrowed land before they moved to their permanent sites, and in some cases even refused to return the sites back to their owners and continued to retain them.

6.The present temporary site of Zamfara State University is a structure that can compete favourably with any structure of the much older universities in the country.


Ibrahim Dosara

Hon Commissioner for Information

Zamfara state


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