A COMMINIQUE ISSUED BY THE STUDENTS’ UNION GOVERNMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT 2015/2016 SESSION ON THE 11TH DAY OF APRIL 2016.
With absolute humility and earnest dedication to the call of leadership
We the Students’ Union Government of the University of Port Harcourt wishes to bring to the notice of the general public and condemn in no small measure the events that occurred in the University of Port Harcourt leading to the death of some conscious Nigerian students in the hands of the NIGERIA POLICE FORCE (NPF)
The following led to the event that transpired today
The school management headed by the Vice Chancellor Professor N.E.S Lale without recourse to the Student Union leaders and representatives of the students decided to enforce the policy that students who have not paid their school fees will not partake in the school’s first semester examination scheduled to commence today the 11th day of April, 2016, thereby loosing an academic session, hence an automatic extra year. This is contrary to the stipulation of the NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION, which stipulates that new policies especially those directly affecting the students should be enforced in concordance and in dialogue with the representatives of the students.
However, in an attempt to better manage the situation, the Student Union leaders did all that was humanly possible to dialogue with the management of the University and make them understand how detrimental this policy could be, taking into cognizance the unfavorable economic reality facing the generality of Nigeria, hence the need to shift ground and find other lenient and easily acceptable penalties like not releasing the results of students who failed to pay their school fees.
This move was rendered fruitless due to the unyielding nature of the Vice Chancellor who insisted on going on with this unpopular policy, who stated that over 90% of the students have paid their school fees, hence exams can commence without the other 10%.
Having failed to convince the school management, the Student Union Government in their own capacity tried to convey the stand of the management to the students, trying so hard to convince them against any demonstration. Our attempt was indeed fruitless, hence the demonstration.
The student said they were not ready to lose an academic session. There is always a limit to how much the student representative can attempt to convince the students against their intention to demonstrate especially when emotions are involved. This however led to the peaceful demonstration that commenced early this morning the 11th of April 2016.
The demonstration remained peaceful until the men of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) who were called in by the Vice Chancellor to maintain peace and order started shooting live bullets at the students which led to the death of one comrade Ofurum Peter, a 400 level student of Accounting department and a serving Executive President of the Faculty of Management Science student association (FAMASSA), amidst countless number of injured students
As if that was not enough, the men of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) also shot a student while students were en route the media house in demonstration against the death of a fellow student earlier killed by the men of the Nigerian Police Force .
Rather than call for the students’ representatives for dialogue, the University management had a senate sitting and released a memorandium ordering students to vacate the school’s hostels and premises before 6pm giving students less than 2 hours after the fatal and unwholesome killing of their colleague, leader and comrade, enforcing the directives through men of the Nigerian Army without considering students whose residences are not within the shores of Rivers State.
As a result of the foregoing, the Students’ Union Government of the University of Port Harcourt hereby resolves as follows:
1. The action of the management of the University of Port Harcourt in not resolving effectively the events that led to the protest at the University of Port Harcourt is highly condemned. As parents that they are, we expected management not to throw away the baby and the bath water.
2. The actions of the Nigeria Police Force who were expected to protect the Nigerian Students, but rather turned against the same student and killed some of them are highly condemned. Hence we call on the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force, and every well meaning Nigerian to ensure that the perpetrators of this dastardly act must be fished out and the full wrath of the law visited on them.
3. We plead with aggrieved students of the University of Port Harcourt to keep calm as the Students’ Union Government in conjunction with well meaning members of the public will do everything possible to resolve the brouhaha and defend the rights of the Nigerian Students.
Comr. Ephraim Inno-Anameje Led Students’ Union
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