REPORT: How Nigerian Tertiary Institutions Failed To Respond To Several Email Enquiries (Part 2)

By Muhammad Ibrahim

In this second and final part, Muhammad Ibrahim reports how the relationship between tertiary institutions and Nigerian students via email is not far from been poor despite the advancement in information technology.

Information and communication technology advancements have transformed the manner of communication from analogue to digital. In a matter of seconds, text, audio, video and all forms of multimedia messages can be sent and received.

But sadly, in Nigerian tertiary institutions, from the collection of admission letter, registration, till one collects his certificate, all are mostly done manually from one office to another, jumping from one long queue to another.

The need for speedy and quick communication between the institutions and their students becomes more relevant more than any other time than now, when Nigerian students are facing threats from sexual harassments from sex for grade (marks) lecturers, kidnappings, difficulty in registration, amongst others.

However, this report showed that Nigerian tertiary institutions give less attention to contact pages and email addresses through which students can lodge their complaints anonymously and quickly.

In this report, EDUTORIAL, exposed the wide communication gap between the students and the authorities in their various institutions of learning.

Email enquiries

On November 9, Edutorial, sent inquiry emails to 17 out of the Nigerian federal and state universities to inquire about the upcoming post unified tertiary matriculation examination (PUTME) date and the truth on payment for covid-19 test fees.

The number of the  Nigerian varsities emailed will have been 18 if Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi can be contacted. The official website of the institution neither has a contact form nor an email address.

Institutions emailed are as follows, Borno state university (info@bosu.edu.ng), Kano university of science and technology Wudil (mis@kustwudil.edu.ng) and (info@kustwudil.edu.ng), Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano (contact@nwu.edu.ng), Kogi state university (info@kogistateuniversity.edu.ng), Sokoto state university (info@ssu.edu.ng), and Plateau state university (info@plasu.edu.ng),

Gombe state university (info@gsu.edu.ng), federal university Kashere (info@fukashere.edu.ng), federal university Gusau (info@fugusau.edu.ng), Federal University Wukari (info@fuwukari.edu.ng), federal university Dutse (registrar@fud.edu.ng), were also emailed.

Others include Sule Lamido University, Kafin Hausa (admin@jsu.edu.ng), Adamawa state university (info@adsu.edu.ng), Ahmadu Bello University (helpdesk@abu.edu.ng), federal university Lokoja (info@fulokoja.edu.ng), federal university  Dutsinma (—-@fudutsinma.edu.ng), Yobe state university (info@ysu.edu.ng), Taraba state university (info@tsuniversity.edu.ng)

The inquiry, titled “inquiry on post UTME” asked “has the university announced the post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (PUTME) date and requested all applicants to pay for Covid-19 fees?”

Inquiry email sent to varsities

Similarly, on the other hand, 28 emails were sent to 21 colleges of education, polytechnics, and colleges of legal and Islamic studies both federal and states owned institutions, to inquire about the truth of resumption date after the covid-19 lockdown, “has the institution been reopened? Said only students who paid for the covid-19 test fees will be allowed to resume and also attend lectures?”

Inquiry sent to other tertiary institutions

The institutions in question are Sokoto college of legal and Islamic studies (info@scolis.edu.ng), Aminu Kano College of Islamic and legal studies (admin@akcils.edu.ng), Federal college of education technical (info@fcetgombe.edu.ng), federal college of education Zaria (info@fcezaria.edu.ng), Gombe state polytechnic Bajoga (info@gspb.edu.ng), and Federal polytechnic Bauchi (info@fptb.edu.ng).

Ramat polytechnic Maiduguri (info@ramatpoly.edu.ng), Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi (info@atapoly-bauchi.edu.ng), Kebbi state polytechnic, Dakingari, Kebbi (info@kespodak.edu.ng), Waziri Umaru federal polytechnic Birnin Kebbi (registrar@wufpbk.edu.ng), The federal polytechnic Bida, Niger (info@fedpolybida.edu.ng),

Hassan Usman Polytechnic, Katsina (info@hukpoly.edu.ng), Kaduna polytechnic (info@kadunapolytechnic.edu.ng), federal polytechnic Mubi (info@federalpolytechnicmubi.edu.ng), The federal polytechnic Damaturu (info@fedpodam.edu.ng), Kwara state polytechnic Ilorin (info@kwarastatepolytechnic.edu.ng), and Adamawa state polytechnic (info@adamawastatepoly.edu.ng).

Federal college of education Katsina (info@fcekatsina.edu.ng), (fcekatsina@gmail.com) and (registrar@fcekatsina.edu.ng), federal college of education technical Bichi (info@fcetbichi.edu.ng), and (complaints@fcetbichi.edu.ng), federal college of education technical Gusau (info@fcetgusau.edu.ng), and college of education Billiri (coebilliri@gmail.com) and (info@billiricoe.edu.ng).

Others are Adamu Tafawa Balewa College of education Kangere (info@edukangere.edu.ng), college of education Gindiri (info@coegindiri.edu.ng) and Shehu Shagari college of education (info@sscoe.edu.ng).

On November  16, another email serving as a reminder was sent to the addresses that failed to acknowledge or respond to the enquiries sent.  But despite this, the inquiry was not responded to.

Although Federal college of education Katsina, federal college of education technical Bichi and college of education Billiri have more than one email addresses to be contacted, only FCE Katsina replied via its google mail account.

Addresses not found

When email policies are made around the world universities to enable effective communication between the institutions and those making enquiries, Nigerian tertiary institutions, including universities, don’t even have functioning email addresses. Six institutions (29%) of the institutions emailed were not reached out of the 21 targets.

For institutions like Adamu Tafawa Balewa College of education Kangere (info@edukangere.edu.ng), college of education Gindiri (info@coegindiri.edu.ng), federal college of education technical Gusau (info@fcetgusau.edu.ng) and Waziri Umaru federal polytechnic Birnin Kebbi (registrar@wufpbk.edu.ng), immediately after the emails were sent, they bounced back within seconds.

For the three institutions above, Adamu Tafawa Balewa College of education Kangere, college of education Gindiri and federal college of education technical Gusau, the domain could not be found at all.

“Your message wasn’t delivered to info@edukangere.edu.ng because the domain edukangere.edu.ng couldn’t be found. Check for typos or unnecessary spaces and try again.” notification from (mailer-daemon@googlemail.com) said.

While the email of registrar at Waziri Umaru federal polytechnic Birnin Kebbi, was not found too, postmaster notified, “your message to registrar@wufpbk.edu.ng couldn’t be delivered. registrar wasn’t found at wufpbk.edu.ng.”

The two addresses of Aminu Kano college of Islamic and legal studies (admin@akcils.edu.ng) and Shehu Shagari college of education (info@sscoe.edu.ng), for about three days, gmail was trying to send but the inquiry failed to be delivered to their addresses.

“There was a problem delivering your message to admin@akcils.edu.ng.” the notice stated.

While on the other hand, three Nigerian varsities (17.6%) that could not be reached by their email addresses are Sule Lamido University, Kafin Hausa (admin@jsu.edu.ng), federal university  Dutsinma (—-@fudutsinma.edu.ng), and Kogi state university (info@kogistateuniversity.edu.ng). However, the websites from which they are copied, still work.

“Your message wasn’t delivered to admin@jsu.edu.ng because the domain jsu.edu.ng couldn’t be found. Check for typos or unnecessary spaces and try again.” one of the responses notified.

“Your message wasn’t delivered to —-@fudutsinma.edu.ng because the address couldn’t be found, or is unable to receive mail.” another address not found notice.

 “Your message to info@kogistateuniversity.edu.ng has been blocked. See technical details below for more information.” daemon notice said.

Acknowledgements and reponses

Only Taraba state university (info@tsuniversity.edu.ng) and federal university Gusau (info@fugusau.edu.ng) (11.7%) have responded to the inquiry, out of the 17 universities emailed.

“Good day, it isn’t true,” the email said. “please don’t make any payment to anybody. Thank you” Taraba varsity’s email warned.

It took federal university Gusau 25 days to reply to the initial inquiry sent. Still, without commenting on the other part of the inquiry concerning the collection. of  covid-19 fees. “Yeah, the Registration has since commenced. Thank you.”

While the reminder was replied after 23 days. “Sorry for responding to your mail late. The Registration for the POST UTME is still ongoing. Thank you.” a response from the reminder said without comments on the collection of covid-19 fees asked.

For other institutions aside from the  varsities, 11 institutions (52%) failed to reply while only four institutions responded making 19%.

52% no reply. 19% response. 29% unreachable.

At 14:13, a few hours after the email was sent, Kwara state polytechnic (info@kwarastatepolytechnic.edu.ng), became the first polytechnic to reply within some seconds.

“The institution has resumed and please kindly disregard any false information. Thanks” The email warned.

While at 12:26, Ramat polytechnic Maiduguri, (info@ramatpoly.edu.ng) was the only institution that have acknowledged the receipt of the inquiry,  few minutes after. However, this institution did not reply with the requested information even after sending a reminder. All Edutorial received was double acknowledgements.

“Your message has been received and will be attended shortly.” said the two acknowledgements.

For Gombe state polytechnic Bajoga (info@gspb.edu.ng), an email, bearing the name of Joshua Umaru, also stated clearly that the school has resumed and the institution is not charging covid-19 test fees but there is compliance with the safety protocols. The email came in, the following day after it was sent, almost three hours to 24 hours.

“Schools have resumed, as for Gombe state polytechnic, Bajoga, kindly note that there are no fees attached as to when one attends lectures, however, Covid-19 compliance is strictly adhered to. Thank you. Regards.” he replied.

While at 12:05pm, almost 24 hours later, FCE Katsina (fcekatsina@gmail.com) also replied. But refused to comment on whether the school is charging students covid-19 test fees or not. “the school has resumed fully.”

No reply

Out of the 17 universities emailed via 18 addresses, 12 universities (70.5%) didn’t reply. While three (17.6%) of all, were not reached.

17.6 unreachable. 11.7 no response. 70.5 no response

Despite sending a reminder after seven days, on November 16, no response from the following institutions was received.

These are Borno state university (info@bosu.edu.ng), Kano university of science and technology Wudil (mis@kustwudil.edu.ng) and (info@kustwudil.edu.ng), Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano (contact@nwu.edu.ng),  Sokoto state university (info@ssu.edu.ng), and Plateau State University (info@plasu.edu.ng),

Gombe state university (info@gsu.edu.ng), federal university Kashere (info@fukashere.edu.ng), Federal university Wukari (info@fuwukari.edu.ng), federal university Dutse (registrar@fud.edu.ng), were also emailed.

Others include Adamawa state university (info@adsu.edu.ng), Ahmadu Bello university (helpdesk@abu.edu.ng), federal university Lokoja (info@fulokoja.edu.ng),  Yobe state university (info@ysu.edu.ng).

Similarly, other tertiary institutions emailed apart from the universities, did not respond to the enquiries.

The institutions in question are Sokoto college of legal and islamic studies (info@scolis.edu.ng), Aminu Kano college of Islamic and legal studies (admin@akcils.edu.ng), Federal college of education technical (info@fcetgombe.edu.ng), federal college of education Zaria (info@fcezaria.edu.ng), and Federal polytechnic Bauchi  (info@fptb.edu.ng).

Abubakar Tatari Ali polytechnic Bauchi (info@atapoly-bauchi.edu.ng), Kebbi state polytechnic, Dakingari, Kebbi (info@kespodak.edu.ng), Waziri Umaru federal polytechnic Birnin Kebbi (registrar@wufpbk.edu.ng), The federal polytechnic Bida, Niger (info@fedpolybida.edu.ng),

Hassan Usman Polytechnic, Katsina (info@hukpoly.edu.ng), Kaduna polytechnic (info@kadunapolytechnic.edu.ng), federal polytechnic Mubi (info@federalpolytechnicmubi.edu.ng), The federal polytechnic Damaturu (info@fedpodam.edu.ng), and Adamawa state polytechnic (info@adamawastatepoly.edu.ng).

Federal college of education technical Bichi (info@fcetbichi.edu.ng), and (complaints@fcetbichi.edu.ng), federal college of education technical Gusau (info@fcetgusau.edu.ng), and college of education Billiri (coebilliri@gmail.com) and (info@billiricoe.edu.ng).

Others are Adamu Tafawa Balewa College of education Kangere (info@edukangere.edu.ng), college of education Gindiri (info@coegindiri.edu.ng) and Shehu Shagari college of education (info@sscoe.edu.ng).

Students lamentations

The method by which academic activities are carried on in the olden days on campuses have not changed completely as students lament that they still have to confront the authorities with enquiries, physically despite ICT advancement and the digital economy policy and strategy.

Ibrahim Yusuf, a student of Gombe state university, has confirmed that he is aware of his institution’s website and email address but has never reached out to the authorities via email.

He only confronted the authorities physically on any inquiry. “by meeting the concerned authorities physically,” he said.

Similarly, Najib Adamu Usman, who is studying at Bauchi state university, knows his institution’s website and email address. However, he has never contacted the authorities before via email.

When asked how he sends an inquiry, he said he reached the authorities “face to face.”

Expert says

Umar Saleh Gwani, an ICT consultant, founder/CEO, NextOne Information and Communications Technologies Nigeria Limited, when reached by this reporter to comment on the bouncing emails said “it means even if the domains exist, they do not have email services enabled.”

He however added that “Since most of the errors are from the mailer daemon, it is also possible the mailboxes are full.”

Institutions phone lines still not reachable

Attempts to reach out to Sule Lamido university via phone have failed. The institution didn’t provide a phone number on its website.

Similarly, Kwara state polytechnic website does not contain a contact number of the institution.

Prince Abubakar Audu Anyigba University, also does not give a complete contact number through which one can contact the institution. Only this (+234 80 xxxxxx) was given. And it is incomplete.

NUC fails to respond

The National Universities Commission (NUC) is a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Education (FME), responsible for the development and management of university education in Nigeria.

NUC has failed to respond to an email sent to its address and a contact form filled on its website concerning these findings, more than a week after.

This is the last part in the two part series of covid-19 ICT/telecommunications reports in Nigeria.

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