• Dickson denies ownership of new institution

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Students of the Niger Delta University located in Amassoma, Bayelsa State, on Wednesday protested the prolonged closure of the institution by lecturers at the school over unpaid salaries.

But the Bayelsa State Government told the protesting students to blame their lecturers for the continuous ‎shut-down of the institution, saying as a government it has done its part to end the strike.

Movement of vehicles was disrupted in Yenagoa, the state capital, following the demonstration by the angry students.

They marched through the busy Melford Okilo road, brandishing placards with various inscriptions calling on the authorities to end the disagreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

Scores of security operatives were on hand to ensure that some hoodlums did not hijack the peaceful protest which the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, said was instigated by the opposition.

The State Government also accused some leaders of the protesting students of allegedly playing out the script of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

A spokesmen of the students and a 300 levels Engineering student, Omiela Dumotonye, said that all the students were demanding was a quick return of the disputants to the negotiating table.
“What the students want is for the State Government and ASUU to return to the negotiation table and ensure that issues of salary payment are settled. We are not harming anybody”, he said.
Another respondent, a 300 level student of Philosophy, Dee Mitin, said ‘the protest is not about civil servant matters. It is a wakeup call for the State Government and ASUU to return to the dialogue table and resolve the differences. They should come to an agreement within Seven days.”

Mitin threatened that the students community in NDU have resolved to embark on a mega rally and shut down the state if the issues between the State Government and NDU were not resolved.
While addressing the students, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Dokubo Spiff , also blamed the strike on ASUU who he said have refused to honour their part of agreement with the state government.

Spiff said,“I feel your pains. You need not suffer what you are suffering but it is because ASUU has refused to sit down with the state government to talk.

“ASUU gave government many conditions and promised to resume work when the conditions were met.
“After government had met the conditions, ASUU came back again with more conditions and the government asked them to resumed work first as promised of which they have refused.

“ASUU has been disappointingly uncooperative with government and using the students as pawns. They have connived with politicians to portray the government in bad light”, he alleged.

Meanwhile, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has denied ownership of a proposed private university in the state christened ‘African University’.

Dickson was said to have forwarded a Bill to the state House of Assembly seeking approval to build the private university.

The Bill was reportedly sponsored by Mr Peter Akpe, Leader of the House, representing Sagbama Constituency I on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

At the resumed plenary on Wednesday, the House passed the Bill after it scaled third reading following the report of the House Committee on Education.

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