Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Crisis has hit the Bayelsa State-owned Niger Delta University (NDU) Amassoma as students have vowed to resist alleged intimidation by the school management over the hike in school fees.
This was even as the Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO) has faulted the closure of the school and assault of the leadership of the student union government led by its President Raphael Biweribo.
Biweribo and students have vowed to continue to demonstrate against the hike in school by the school management but the governing council of the institution had insisted that Biweribo is being sponsored to disrupted academic activities in the school as there was nothing like hike in school fees.
Matters came to head over the weekend when Biweribo was lured out of the school in the bid to find a lasting solution to the tensed situation in the school occasioned by the student union hard stance and beaten to stupor by suspected thugs.
The students on hearing of the ordeal of Biweribo went on rampage and disrupted academic activities in the school forcing the governing council to close down the school.
CLO in a statement signed by Chief Nengi James Eriworio called on Governor Henry Seriake Dickson as visitor to the School to address the grievances of the students and stop the school management from planned expulsion of the student leaders.
Eriworio disclosed that field officers deployed by CLO were eye-witnesses to the human rights abuses visited on the student union leadership following their action to protest hike in the school fees.
“We have been told that the school management is planning to expel the student union leadership and others over their involvement in the anti-school fees hike protest. The CLO condemn in totality the plot by the NDU to silence the students by assaulting the student union. The CLO is ready to use available legal means to support the student.”
Meanwhile the Commissioner of Education, Hon Jonathan Robinson Obuebite has maintained that NDU was not closed down but also suspended academic activities.
According to him the governing council of the university decided to suspend academic activities due to the incessant demonstration by some students.
“What is happening in NDU is the suspension of academic activities. The issue they are talking about which is the increment of school fees but the school governing council, and the government has said there is no hike in the school fees, yet some students angry that some other students are not bothered over reports of hike in fees disrupted academic activities. There is no school authority that would sit down and allow such things”