By Salim Yunusa
Students of the Bayelsa State-owned Niger Delta University (NDU) have staged a protest over plans by the school management to introduce school uniforms to be paid for by students.
Over 20,000 students staged a peaceful protest inside the campus of the institution at Wilberforce Island, Amassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday calling on the state government to pressure the management to rescind on its decision on the students.
They also condemned continued ban on Students Union activities in the institution, saying the ban was aimed at stifling agitations and the closure of fees portal for old students.
The aggrieved students called on Governor Douye Diri to sack the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo who is angling for a second tenure, saying his policies are ridiculous to the school.
Some of the students who claimed anonymity alleged that engineering students were mandated to pay as much as N30,000 each for their uniforms while students of other faculties would pay N20,000 each.
According to them, “Introduction of school uniforms was a sign of high-handedness by the school management and open display of tyranny.
Early this year, the institution management came under attack over the discrimination of a physically challenged man who was a deputy bursar of the school, which sparked a protest.
The man was denied the opportunity of appearing for an interview for the position of bursar and has remained suspended following the protest, although Diri has addressed the management on the development.
The growing negative developments in the school have become concerns for many stakeholders including parents and students among others.
Investigations revealed that the decision on the uniforms was to avert incidents like the killing of an Engineering student at an eatery through accidental discharge and another by alleged cultists earlier this year.
The university management however claimed that the issue of indecent dressing by female students prompted the introduction of uniforms on students.
The Public Relations Officer of NDU, Idoni Indezi, when contacted, said the closure of the fees portal was a policy of the school, but maintained that it was still open for this session.
Indezi said the school management has not fixed fees for uniforms and that discussions are still ongoing at departmental and faculty levels.