Over 2,000 Niger Delta students studying in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world under the Presidential Amnesty Programme have protested against the non-payment of their tuition fees, in-training allowances and accommodation fees.
The students, who protested on Sunday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, lamented that since the appointment of the substantive Coordinator for the PAP, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh, their conditions had worsened.
The students, who expressed their grievances through their coordinators in Swansea University, UK, Mr. Elliot Yibakeni, and Emomotimi Ziprebo of Birmingham City University, UK, noted that the Federal Government’s indifference had left them frustrated and disillusioned.
They said, “We are protesting on behalf of the over 2,000 abandoned and dejected Nigerian students of Niger Delta extraction studying in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
“Sadly, since the appointment of Coordinator for PAP, Paul Boroh, nothing has changed for us, rather the situation is becoming more precarious each passing day.
“We wish to tell Nigerians and the international community that as we speak, Niger Delta students are frustrated and disillusioned because of uncertainty with regard to the prolonged delay and non-payment of tuition fees, in-training allowances, accommodation fees and other stipends that will aid our stay in foreign lands.
“We are now a bout of joke around the world especially in the UK and have practically turned refugees and laughing stock in our respective cities where the institutions are. We have just received the news of the death of one of our fellow students in the University of Belarus due to the present hardship faced by the students.”
The students claimed that some students on the amnesty programme in Malaysia had been arrested and were daily subjected to inhuman treatment because they could not meet their obligations.
They wondered why the Amnesty Office had failed to implement President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the students should be paid their allowances urgently.
They added, “As of the moment, schools in UK and other parts of the world have started resuming for fresh academic sessions.
Unfortunately, Niger Delta students may not be able to join their colleagues in their various institutions of higher learning because of the delay in meeting their financial obligations.
“Worse still, students that did foundation programmes in the UK and were successful are currently denied visas by the UK embassy because of the yet to be resolved challenges experienced by the students.
“All the relevant authorities are aware of this development but because it affects the people of the Niger Delta, they seem not to bat an eyelid.”
The students appealed to President Buhari and other well-meaning individuals to save them and the PAP from imminent collapse.
Particularly, they urged the President to match action with words in seeing that the funds were released on time for the beneficiaries of the programme.
The students, who said they had exhausted every peaceful means of amicable resolution of the issue, noted that they might be tempted to direct the various chapters across the world to embark on a massive demonstration in the capitals and state houses where Nigerian leaders reside.
Extract From Punch,,,