The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has called on the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson to address the grievances of students of the Niger Delta University, Amassoma, Bayelsa State which led to a massive protest and the eventual closure of the university on Wednesday, the 25th of April, 2018.
According to a press statement released on Thursday by its President, Eric Omare, the institution had experienced different challenges in recent times.
It recalled that, there was a massive protest by students of the Bayelsa State-owned higher institution against the increment in charges.
The statement also noted that some workers of the institution had earlier protested against their purported sack, and that these events had eventually led to the closure of the university by the Senate of the institution.
The IYC expressed serious concerns over this situation at the University, which it claimed was established by the first Executive Governor of Bayelsa State and Governor General of Ijaw Nation, Late Chief D. S. P. Alamieyeseigha and which it said is pivotal to the development of the Ijaw nation.
The statement went down memory lane to buttress its point; “Before the creation of Bayelsa State and the eventual establishment of the NDU, the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt was the epicenter of the educational pursuit of the Ijaw people; hence most leaders of the Ijaw nation were trained in RSUST including the present Governor of Bayelsa State.
“However, with the creation of Bayelsa State and establishment of the NDU by late Chief Alamieyeseigha, the educational epicenter of the Ijaw nation moved from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt to the Niger Delta University, Amassoma.
“Now, the greater percentage of Ijaw people desiring university education attends the Niger Delta University, Amassoma. The NDU is to the Ijaw nation what the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria is to northern Nigeria. The NDU is also to the Ijaw nation, what the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka is to the Igbo nation.
“It is also to the Ijaw nation what the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ife is to the Yoruba nation. And just like the NDU was founded by the late Ijaw leader, Chief D. S. P. Alamieyeseigha, all these universities in the east, west and north were founded by the leaders of the Yoruba nation, Igbo nation and the north at the time of their establishment to give their people access to university education.
“Hence, all efforts must be made to protect the founding philosophy of the Niger Delta University by our late leader, Chief D. S. P. Alamieyeseigha which was to give Ijaw people access to university education in a school they can call their own. The Bayelsa State Government must note that a vast majority of students of the NDU are children of environmentally-induced poor Ijaw people who cannot afford high charges.
“The parents of these students are fishermen and Fisher women whose main source of income has been destroyed by decades of environmental degradation of Ijaw land and the Niger Delta region”.
IYC called on the Visitor to the institution and Bayelsa Governor, to as a matter of urgency and responsibility, take an all-encompassing approach to solve the crisis, and ensure a human face to the solution.
He tasked Gov. Dickson to make charges in the school, in whatever guise, affordable for the students.
“Consequently, the IYC call on Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson and visitor to the Niger Delta University, Amassoma to holistically address the problems confronting the institution especially, the increment of charges by the university authority.
“To the IYC, it does not matter whether it is called charges or tuition fee. What is important is that what the students of the institution are meant to pay should be affordable. The Bayelsa State government has a responsibility to ensure that children of poor Bayelsa fishermen and women have access to university education”.