Students from the Bayelsa State-owned Niger Delta University (NDU), on Saturday, protested the indefinite closure of the university following the inability of the state Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson to pay backlog of workers’ salaries.
The aggrieved students in a statement by the spokesman, NDVM, Mr. Wisdom Adike, threatened to march na ked with their books and block the entrance to Government House if after a week the stakeholders failed to settle their rift and open the university.
It will be recalled that the lecturers of the institution, had on April 28, 2016, proceeded on an indefinite strike. As of the time the lecturers commenced their strike, the state government was owing the lecturers and non-lecturers of the NDU four months salary arrears as they have not been paid since January 2016.
The students, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Visionary Movement, also criticised other students’ bodies such as the Student Union Government of NDU, National Union of Bayelsa State Students and the National Union of Izon-Ebe Students, describing them as puppets.
The spokesperson said: “We wish to bring to the notice of the general public, that the strike embarked upon by the ASUU, NDU chapter, on April 26, 2016, over nonpayment of salaries, have led to the shutdown of the institution for over one month now.
“This development has continued to give parents and students great concern.
“Niger Delta University being the only state owned university is a legacy institution established by the late Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who was recently laid to rest. The institution has not only helped in meeting the manpower needs of the state but the entire Niger Delta region and beyond.
“However, we wish to express our displeasure over the lingering strike and government’s attitude towards resolving the situation. The strike has increased hardship, made students to sit idle at home and lose focus on their academic pursuit, as well prolong their academic programmes, thereby causing youth restiveness and society unrest.”
“We also call on the Ijaw Youths Council to stand up, break their silence and defend the legacy of the Ijaw nation by ensuring the immediate reopening of Niger Delta University. This is because now is the time to protect our common heritage.
“We are also using this medium to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in his magnanimity and benevolence in salvaging the state from the current economic crunch and hardship as parents and guardians especially in the local governments of the state have not received salaries for over 12 months, despite the release of bailout funds by the Federal Government.
“Finally, we want to urge all students to remain calm and embrace as all available non-violence means will be utilized to end this strike and return to school,” he added.