The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has called on the Bayelsa state Governor Seriake Dickson to address the grievances of students of the Niger Delta University, Amassoma, which led to a massive protest and eventual closure of the university on Wednesday, the 25th of April, 2018.
It would be recalled that there was a massive protest by students of the Bayelsa state owned Niger Delta University, Amassoma, against the increment in charges.
Earlier, some workers of the institution had protested against their purported sack. The result of all these challenges is the eventual closure of the university by the senate of the institution.
The IYC has expressed serious concerns over this situation.
In a statement signed by Eric Omoare, president of the IYC, the body said the Niger Delta University, Amassoma established by the first Executive Governor of Bayelsa State and Governor General of Ijaw Nation, Late Chief D. S. P. Alamieyeseigha is very pivotal to the development of the Ijaw nation.
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 attend 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 the 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 IYC president said 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.
He noted that parents of these students are fishermen whose main source of income has been destroyed by decades of environmental degradation of Ijaw land and the Niger Delta region.
Consequently, the IYC called on Governor Dickson 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 have access to university education,” the statement noted.