At a time when having a means of identification has turned utmost importance, it is sad that current 200L students of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto still cannot boast of being students because they lack portable proof (ID card) to show for it.

Our editor, Abiodun Jamiu disturbed by this, decided to go to field. For 336 hours equivalent of two weeks, he interviewed several 200L students of the varsity as well as the management.

Abiodun Jamiu reports,

The bus puffed, moving sluggishly as the tires made monotonous hisses to a halt. A security officer decked in a dust-coated uniform of the Nigerian army had flagged the bus down a few metres away for inspection along the Koko – Jega highway. The bus was heading to Sokoto from Ilorin. The officer’s light was on full beam to the discomfort of passengers (students of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto) who could barely protest for fear of a rapport that may stir a gulf.  This time, the overbearing noise that had enveloped the air soon abated. The driver who had also fiddle with the radio to fill the bus lowered the tunes. For the minutes, there was an exchange of duties between fear and silence as one of the officers approached the driver.

“Students” the driver muttered. He tried to reignite the ignition, but the officer wouldn’t budge instantly. He demanded proof of studentship from one of the students, pointing specifically at Ibrahim Lukman Arowolo, a 200L student of biochemistry whose hair had grown grey from perpetual invasion by specks of dust hovering the rickety road, and sat near the windscreen of the fourteen-seater bus the officer was standing.

But Ibrahim has no student’s identity card. Within a split second, fear gripped his innocuous demeanor. The bus was stranded as his troubled mind scoured through emptiness for an identity card that never existed. He wore a confused, unexpressive face that the seemingly random thoughts that squirrelled through him bemoan the management for the ‘unfortunate’ situation he was stuck over the “little that matters” which the management has not provided.

“I was frightened.  The soldier insisted that I must provide the ID card. I don’t have any student ID except the confirmation letter that was given us when we were admitted a year ago and it was in my luggage.”

Ibrahim is resuming for the second year, 2019/2020, but the school is yet to issue students’ identity cards for those admitted – including Ibrahim – for the 2018/2019 academic year. The timely intervention of his fellow students calms the tense atmosphere that ensconced what seems a short-term grill.

In Nigerian Universities, possession of University identity cards by students is compulsory. The Student Affairs Division of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto is responsible for the issuance of identity card to students upon the payment of prescribed fees determined by the university management

According to the University Students’ handbook, students must identify themselves by providing identity cards when required. Students who do not have an identity card may be denied access to University facilities or other benefits meant for students especially as a pass into the examination hall.

Like Ibrahim – and a large swath of students who are yet to be issued students’ identity cards, there is no means of identifying themselves as students of the University. Also, claiming other entitlements could take extra miles to prove as most students hardly meandered with their confirmation letter – 210 X 297- millimetre sized document – given at the point of confirmation of admission for fear of misplacing it.


There is currently a whirlwind of disquiet among students of the varsity over the failure of the management to issue an ID card. That it cost him opportunities is the grouse Sheriff Oshubiyi, 200 Level student of law, has against the management. Crestfallen, Sheriff bemoaned the tardiness of the management in issuing identity cards to them, stressing there are opportunities he forfeited due in large part to the ID card he could not provide.

“It is very disheartening that up till now we have not been issued our school I. D card. This issue is something that we are very sad about. Come to think of it, the fact that we are yet to be given the ID card is affecting us as students because there are some occasions whereby we need the card but since we are yet to be given, we won’t be able to make use of it.  As a student, there was an Oratory contest for university students which I have been eyeing for a long time but I could not because they requested an identity card.

While relating an Oratory contest he missed because he could not provide proof he is a university student, he urged the management to exigently provide the ID card to avoid similar delays in the issuance of the cards for the newly admitted students.

“I hope the school management would resolve this matter by issuing the ID card to the concerned students to focus on the new students,” he said.

Another student who goes by a name, Barakat, 200 Level student of political science, her submission does not eclipse sheriff’s. According to her, the non-issuance of an ID card in spite of being a second-year student cast a bleak shadow on her interest to apply for opportunities that required the card. For Barakah, whenever she sees one (scholarship, symposium, etc.) she overlooks it.

Apart from missing out opportunities, identity card also distinguishes students from natives. In a university, as flooded by out-of-school children who mostly engage in menial jobs as UDUS, students are identified by their outward apparel.

“I have stopped bothering myself about applying for scholarships that require me to submit my proof of studentship because we don’t have one. Some of us need the ID card to apply for opportunities, but we could not.

Often time, this card is requested by security personnel along highways whenever we are travelling back home, if not for those in higher levels that provide it, who knows? We might be tagged criminals. We just hope we would be given before it is too late.”

Disappointed, Adedeji Mutmainah, 200L student of public administration, stressed that the delay in the issuance of ID card stems from maladministration. According to her, Identity cards should have been given in her first year as done in other universities. Adedeji who was feeling understandably antsy in her first year about the school ID card felt disappointed when after a session she has not been issued.

“We should have been given the id card to serve as evidence that we are a student of this school. Imagine any of us engage in a brawl and he claims to be a student of UDUS, is there any proof to support his claim? It is greatly disheartening. With this development, the onus lies solely on the management because the card should have been issued to us since our first year. I was expecting it, and it is quite uncalled for.”

Marshalling her thoughts, Adedeji who was obliged to enroll for the national identity card could not provide proof of her studentship while applying for an educative programme, said: “Literally, it is just like we are not yet a student of the university. Last session, I wanted to enroll in an accounting program, but I couldn’t. The organisers requested my school identity card during registration which obviously I don’t have. I had to go extra miles, enrolled for NIMC card because I could not provide any proof that I am a university student.” She recalled, expressing her concern

Another 200L student of Agriculture, Olashile Muneerat, faulted the management for the delay. She revealed that tardiness would result in clumsiness when it is eventually issued.

“It is unpleasing that after a session – and we are still counting, the school has not deemed it fit to give us an identity card. How do they want to do it with the newly admitted students? She asked rhetorically “that is, they would be attending to two classes of students – 2018/2019 and this year admitted student. How do they want to do it simultaneously with it being stuffy?”

In her eyes contempt bride hopelessness. She stated that without the ID card she is more or less no different from ‘Yaro Boys’ (underage kids who do menial jobs on campus). She, therefore, urged the management to fill the glitches that led to the delay to give tardiness a wide berth in the administration of the university

Drawing an analogy of Kwara state university prompt issuance of student’s ID card to her newly admitted students, Abdulwakil Busari, 200L student of Engineering, fault the lateness of the management on student’s identity card. With anger visibly written on his face, identity cards differentiate between students and visitors, he posited. And a university hemmed by satellite villages with their population as the university, Abdulwakil feels insecure.

‘The delay is uncalled for. Almost all universities issue ID cards to their students immediately after the matriculation. For instance, newly admitted students of Kwara state university have been given their ID cards. Here, we are in 200L, we have not been issued, what fate would then befall UDUS newly admitted students if not the same fate? He inquired in open-ended Yoruba accent

“I don’t have any grouse against the management, they should just give us the ID card because we don’t have any means of identification except the confirmation letter. And to that extent, we are not secure. With the id card, we would be able to differentiate between Yaro boys and students.”


The travesty of ID card usage in UDUS lies solely on contradictions and failed promises. Boldly inscribed at the back of UDUS students’ ID card reads: ‘This card must be in owner’s possession at all times. It must not be used by other persons…’. But for the lip-service paid to students’ concerns about providing lanyard (tag) by the management, the card is utterly reduced to a once in a blue moon pass.

The university handbook also stated that “no student shall be allowed to enter the examination hall without the University identity card and examinations card”, consequently identity card is openly given prominence only during examinations. Even so, some students still trot helter-skelter over lost ID cards which often take considerable process to recollect; getting a police report, an affidavit sworn before a judge must be presented and #3,000.

“In this university, Identity (ID) card rest and sleep until exam periods. Our ID card is solely for exams, and if you ask for mine now, I would tell you it is in my luggage in the hostel. Unless I am travelling out of the school that it is useful, every other day, it stays in my bag” Musa Olamide, 300L student of political science, stated, expressing concern over the negligible stance the use of ID card has assumed in the university.

A mild drama occurred in one of the lectures this reporter attended. About 15 students could not get the study guides (a chapter of Plato’s Symposium and The Death of Socrates) given by the lecturer a week earlier. Expectedly, these students were sent out of the class, of which nine lurked around the lectures, eavesdropping the paltry that dribbled past the door of the lecture hall. This infuriated the lecturer who requested for their ID cards to know if actually, they were students. But surprisingly, only one out of the nine students had his identity card with him, others had it kept in the hostel supposedly for exams.

Another Student, Ajewumi Kehinde, 300L student of Modern European Languages and Linguistics (MELL), does not use his identity card until exam periods for fear of misplacing it. Ajewumi who was utterly disappointed stated that he could not afford to be bottled up by the rigour of getting another card should it get lost, so he keeps it.

“ID card?” He was bowled over, “If not for exams, I don’t go around with my ID card because I know nobody would ask for it. Moreover, if it got lost or misplaced, it is another problem, so why should I bother having it with me at all time. So, when it is exam period, I’ll bring it out.”

Concerned by the porosity of the university community over their security, he advanced that the university is only on a time bomb which would soon be detonated if prominence is given to identity. “Take the issue of Yaro boys on Campus, there are some that dressed like students. How do we distinguish between students and the natives? We can’t because there are no prioritised means of identification. UDUS is sandwiched between satellite villages that we hardly distinguished students from the locals, what we need is an identity (ID) card with Tag that would help to secure it.”

UDUS’ Students Trend #LetLanyardBeUsed Hashtag on Social Media, Demand Usage of Tag

For an average student of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, the use of lanyard has always been a dream, one that is blurry and could take donkey years to effectuate. But at the front burner of the campaign for the usage of lanyard popularly known as Tag in UDUS is Adegbite Taoheed, 400L student of Literature. Taoheed who had earlier had a misconception of UDUS non-usage of lanyard to have religious leanings when he was admitted three years ago realized it has none but a defect in non-implementation of policies.

“When I got admitted to UDUS three years ago, I actually thought the non-usage of lanyard in UDUS had some religious undertone, maybe because of the Islamic atmosphere we find ourselves here in Sokoto. But it later dawned on me that it has no connection with whatsoever religion it is just how the system has been.”

Disturbed by the identity crisis that holds sway in the university, the final year student of literature charged himself to tool the call for the usage of lanyard in UDUS, albeit in a cooed tone. Today, it is a campaign that has taken the media aback.

“I found it pertinent that considering the porosity of roads leading to the university and the nature of her security architecture, it would highly ease the work of the security apparatus for easy identification of students to adopt the usage of lanyard

The fact is, it is often very difficult to recognize students on campus; different people enter the university without necessarily having any identity, unlike other universities. With a lanyard, there would be easy identification of students, and if at all they want to apprehend anybody – a visitor or stranger, the security would be able to identify strangers from students.”

By implications, the non-usage of ‘tag” in the University often result to lose of ID cards by students due in large part to poor maintenance culture which would have been curtail by the use of ‘Tag’ “Apart, if we are to look into issues that erupt during exams, the identity card is mainly used during exam here, unless we want to deceive ourselves. And despite the fact that it is meant to write exams, we often have cases of missing id cards prior to exams. The ID card is a prerequisite to writing exams, of which without it, the students would not write the exams.

To avert losing the identity card eleventh hour to the exam, in as much as we have the lanyard we would have minimal cases of lost ID card because the rope would become part of the students. If eventually the lanyard is adopted on campus, it would not only be a means of identification but also ease the security architecture of the school.”

Many a student’s hope was rekindled late November last year (2019) when the United Bank for Africa presented a microchip-installed Identity (ID) Cards to the university management to serve as both prepaid Visa card and also an ID card, but it did not usher in a new era. Adegbite would not relent, he followed up the proposal even when others have buried the idea “I don’t know what happened with the co-branded ID card proposed by the United Bank for Africa (UBA). I did follow up and I was made to know that it was the school that could not meet with the terms of the proposal, but the Dean promised to meet with them and give us feedback. With all the follow-up, it seems the issue is still tarry. And I can’t relax, that is why we decided to voice out using social media because it is not over until it is over.” He related

We Are Processing it – Dean, Students’ Affair

When contacted the Dean, Students’ Affairs. Prof. Aminu Mode disclosed to this reporter the commitment of the management to ensure that the identity card is issued to the concerned students, revealed that once the card is ready, the students would be notified. “The ID card is being processed. Immediately it is ready, we would notify the students”. Even today, we wanted to go and check, but I have been in a meeting since morning.” he related.

Speaking on the campaign for the use of lanyard in the varsity, Prof Mode stated that the campaigners should have channeled the concern to the appropriate authority for consideration. The DSA who revealed that the university would soon unveil her anthem courtesy of a student’s recommendation charged students to write the management on burning issues on campus, noting that the management would gladly welcome such advances.

“Instead of writing it directly, recommend it to the management. Even if it is written one million times, and it is not written to the management, it is just a waste of time. But when a proposal is written to the management, we would definitely work on it. Even if you write to the management as student, say Abiodun Jamiu’ referring to this reporter ’with its benefits, the management would look into it.

“As a student, forget about your affiliation, write to the management and propose it. The university would even commend the students. Because it is a common practice in universities, it would help to secure the ID card, we would do the needful. I only get to read it on social media platforms.

“Presently. We are working on the university anthem, it was proposed by a student in my dept (Modern European Languages and Linguistics, MELL) through my office and the university form a committee, I am a member. But when you continue to write without meeting with the management, no one would make any changes among them. When you write to the university through the students’ affairs, it can make changes.”

Speaking further, The DSA, therefore, said the management would clinically look into it “even if we would say students should pay one Naira or ten Naira for it, we would have to sit and deliberate on it”

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