Authorities of the University of Abuja yesterday announced indefinite suspension of academic activities and ordered students to vacate campuses, following demonstrations over stoppage of certain courses.

Students were given till 6pm yesterday to leave the university's premises, apparently in order to forestall escalation of protests over the suspension of courses in four departments by the Federal Government on Tuesday.

Angry students barricaded the busy Umaru Yar'Adua Way in front of the university's main campus, obstructing traffic for hours.

The students were protesting against the suspension of courses in the departments of medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering and agriculture announced on Tuesday over non-accreditation and the consequent inability of students to graduate.

Some of the affected students, who spoke to Daily Trust on condition of anonymity because they feared victimisation, said they would continue with the protest until the government reversed its decision.

They lamented the decision as callous and unacceptable, saying accreditation was an ongoing process, and that it was the responsibility of the authorities to provide the facilities that would standardise academic activities.

The police in Abuja yesterday said a detachment of riot policemen was dispatched to the Giri junction along the Abuja-Lokoja road to 'cajole' the protesting students to leave the road.

Police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said policemen led by area commander Sunday Odukoya used persuasive measures to disperse the students and restore order and traffic flow on the highway. No one was arrested.

He said the police have commenced discussions with the university authorities to prevent a repeat of such protest.

Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. James Adelabu, who made an appearance at the gate of the institution to calm the students, said he was yet to be served any official notice about the suspension of the courses.

He said his administration has been making efforts to ensure that facilities needed were put in place for the accreditation of affected courses.

He decried the inability of the school to effectively run the suspended courses, saying admission into those programs had to be stopped after his appointment as vice chancellor in 2009.

Meanwhile the National Universities Commission (NUC) said yesterday it was aware of the protests in the University of Abuja but was awaiting a formal report from the vice chancellor.

Deputy Executive Secretary of NUC, Akinbode Agbaoye, said the programmes had not been scrapped but the Federal Ministry of Education only suspended them indicating there was still room for remedial action to be taken.