Meet the 1st UNIJOS first-class graduate of criminology and security studies
Written by Johnstone Kpilaakaa on November 6, 2021
Founded in 2013 as a unit under the Faculty of Law and was — later moved to the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences in 2014, the University of Jos’ criminology and security studies programme graduated its first students in 2018, one year later, Ruth Sunday Ki, a native of Miango District became the first student to graduate with a first-class degree in the programme out of 168 students.
Currently, Ruth is serving as a Graduate Assistant at the Taraba State University, Jalingo through the NYSC scheme, in this interview, she shared how she was able to graduate with distinction during her diploma and degree programme while she was actively involved in extra-curricular activities like; campus politics, entrepreneurship and CSOs.
Even though she and her classmates in primary and secondary studied under harsh conditions with stones and the floor as their classroom desks, Ruth Ki was determined to excel and become an example to people from similar backgrounds.
Ruth graduated with distinction during her Law Diploma and Criminology Degree programmes, how did she do this?
How would you describe your experience as a student of Criminology and Security Studies?
I’d wanted to study Law, but after applying for Law about two times and I wasn’t given I decided to start with a Diploma course in Law and Legal Studies from Plateau State Polytechnic in which I believed then that It may give me an edge in getting what I wanted Law through Direct Entry but I was given Sociology, but with my little knowledge of Criminology during my Diploma Days, I changed to Criminology and Security Studies which was just a year old as a programme in the University.
Being a student of Criminology and Security Studies was an exciting journey for me because I’ve always loved to study, study hard on anything I laid my hands on and considering the fact that this course was new in the University, I had an opportunity to explore a lot of materials using the internet which helped me in building my knowledge around the subject matter.
Is justice a thing in Nigeria?
As a student of Criminology, I had the privilege of studying to understand the Nigerian Legal System, the Nigerian Security structure and of course the policies and frameworks guiding the security architecture in Nigeria.
I must say that in as much as we have a unique security structure, as a Nation, we need to be more deliberate in ensuring that justice is the watchword in its implementation.
How did your diploma and degree studies go?
I’ve always been an excellent student. I decided I was going to study hard because I had a very poor background from primary and secondary school. I started school in a local primary school where we sit on the floor or stones to listen to the teacher. I went to a Government Secondary School where we had limited teachers, at some point because of my zeal to learn, I had to study a subject on my own to write in WAEC.
When I got admission for a Diploma Course in Law, I told myself that I wasn’t going to allow my social background to determine what I come out with and I graduated with a Distinction which can be equated to a First Class in the University Standard as the best graduating student of my set in 2014.
I proceeded to the University of Jos where I studied Criminology and Security Studies under the faculty of Social Sciences where I graduated with a First Class Degree as the best graduating student of the department in 2019.
Is academic excellence rewarded in Nigeria?
Well, Nigeria doesn’t value excellence, especially in academics which can discourage undergraduate students trying hard to be excellent in their studies.
For me, I’ve always believed that it is better to prepare and wait for an opportunity than to wait for an opportunity to come before preparations.
I do not have any regret for studying hard to earn a First Class Degree in Criminology and Security Studies, I know that this is a stepping stone for greater opportunities for me, though they may not come now, they may not even come from the government but I know that it will surely come especially now that I am working on travelling out for my Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity after my Service to Nigeria.
Distinctions amid active involvement in extra-curricular activities. How?
While on campus I was running a business, volunteering with an NGO called Interfaith Mediation Center. Also, I was involved in Student Unionism, I later served as the Vice President of the Faculty of Social Sciences in the 2018/2019 session and was also involved in humanitarian activities which later led to me founding a non-profit, non-governmental organization called Right Culture Initiative.
I was able to navigate through all these because I knew what I wanted the moment I got to the University community and I made sure that I set my priorities right. Whenever it was time for studies, I study, when it’s time to sell popcorn, I stay out late in the student hostel to sell and when it’s time for Unionism I do that. I ensure that non of these extracurricular activities tempered with my studies to the point of distracting me from the Goal which was to make a First Class Degree.
For the undergraduates, remember!
For every undergraduate student thriving to excel academically, remember that Academic Excellence is for yourself. It’s for your growth, it prepares you for greater and higher opportunities. Don’t relent in your pursuit of excellence.Ruth Ki
This interview was published with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of Ruth Ki.