Afolabi Joseph, Lagos
The Trade Union Congress (TUC), of Nigeria condemns, out rightly the killing of Mr. Peter Ofurum, a student of University of Port Harcourt and president faculty of science students association by an overzealous policeman during a peaceful protest organised by students against a new school fees policy that prevented some students from writing examinations.
TUC in a statement signed by its President, comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Acting Secretary General, Comrade (Barr.) Simeso Amachree laments the waste of life of this young man, who was in his final year.
Part of the statement read; “We are more worried that after over 100 hours the dastardly act was committed, the Nigerian Police is yet to clear the air let alone make a promise to investigate.
“We gathered that the school authority increased fee to N47, 000 and the students were given up to April 4th to pay up or be de-registered. For us this was uncalled for, especially as this is the school’s First Semester. Such a notice to students in a country where workers are being owed for a period of over 10 months was too short. Equally, some parents who are state workers were relieved of their jobs before their retirement age and stipulated 35 years of service simply because their former governors who are now lawmakers or ministers numbering over 20 are still earning salaries and pension in their respective states”.
Every one is abreast of the happenings in the country recently. Business has been very dull because of lack of forex, loan, fuel scarcity, refusal of state governors to pay salaries even though the Federal Government gave them bailout.
“In fact, for the present administration to ask us to blame the past administrations for the despicable state of the economy points to the fact that many things are actually wrong. Our position is that neither the students nor their parents should be blamed for not paying up the new fee promptly. It is disheartening that even when some of the students managed to raise tuition, the portal was shut down by the school authorities after the expiration of the deadline given to pay up”.
According to the Labour Centre, the students, it was gathered, appealed to the management to rescind its decision and extend the deadline to no avail; hence they promised to sustain the protest until the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sunday Lale and the Senate listened to them.
“Why should the police use arms on harmless students even when properties were not destroyed? The university’s spokesman, Dr Williams Wodi we understand claimed the students held him hostage. He also debunked allegations of increase in tuition and de-registering students who failed to pay up. He debunked the increase in tuition fee yet the