We hold that the wicked hike in school fee and closure of the university has further shown the characteristic insensitivity of the management to the plight of students who are trying to make up 6 months lost to ASUU strike last year! This is indeed especially callous given the fact that Uniport has benefited from increased funding the ASUU strike won for universities. The ASUU strike was protracted as a result of the refusal of the government to implement the agreement he had signed with the union.
We also condemn the falsehood invented by the management that the students who protested against the increment were not students of Uniport. This was also stated as the reason for the closure of the university as the protest was very peaceful except for the teargasing of students and violent repression of the protest by the police called in by management.
The blame for this unfortunate situation must be squarely placed on the head of the rotten NANS Zone B and students’ union leadership whose opportunism and treachery after being allegedly bribed by the Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Ajienka took side with management and refused to support and lead students in protest against the fee hike
Unfortunately, the closure of the university on the 11th of June came as students were planning further actions to press home their demands of total reversal having not satisfied with management's meager concession.
We consider the haste at which the University senate closed the institution on the request of the Vice Chancellor as an abuse of the senate powers and a sinister move meant to punish students for daring to protest management anti-poor policies. Otherwise a reasonable University management would find all possible means to negotiate with students with a view to meeting their legitimate demands. It is only in an undemocratic setting where the NANS and SUG leadership are imposed on students that the school management would assume that students who protested against its wicked anti-poor policies are not its students and on that pretence decided to shut down the university.
This is essentially one of the reasons the ERC very often argues for genuine, independent students’ unionism and for the involvement of elected representatives of staffs, both teaching and non-teaching, and students in all decision making organs of the university.
Education Rights Campaign (ERC), University of Port Harcourt.