Niger Delta students under the Federal Government Presidential Amnesty Programme studying in Benson Idahosa University (BIU), Benin, Edo state, has protested against the non-payment of their tuition fees, arrears and monthly stipends for the last seven months.
The students, who gave the Federal Government 72-hour ultimatum to address the issue converged Monday at the Edo state secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to express their grievances.
One of the protesters, Destiny Pereware who lamented the students suffering as a result of the non-payment of the allowances called on President Muhammed Buhari to come to their aid and increase fund for the programme.
“We have been suffering, starving and being in hunger for the past seven months. We have come to tell the world that the amnesty students of the Benson Idahosa University have not been paid for seven months. That our monthly allowances and tuition fees should be paid. We don’t want to go back to our old ways. We have renounced crimes, we have renounced hostilities, we are peace-loving Niger Deltans, and we are non-violent advocates.
“So we want you to tell the world that we are suffering and President Muhammed Buhari should ensure that the amnesty programme is well funded and our money should be paid to us. That is why we have come to the NUJ to pass this message across to the world”, he said.
Another protester, Igboga Izaic 400-level Department of Mass communication, Benson Idahosa University demanded for a reason for the delay of the payments.
He said: “Initially when we heard students from other schools had been paid, we called the Special Assistant to the President on Amnesty, and he told us to disregard the information that it is not true, but we later found out that the information is true because they have paid ex-militants in other schools while the ex-militants at Benson Idahosa university are not paid.
“So we want them to give us the reason why we have not been paid if other schools have been paid. If we don’t get this issue addressed within 72 hours, we don’t want to go back to our old ways, and when we say old ways, they understand what we mean by that.”