• Say ‘we don’t want to return to creek’
From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin City
Students under the Federal Government amnesty programme in Benson Idahosa University, have pleaded for the payment of their seven months’ stipends, to prevent them from returning to the creeks.
Addressing newsmen on behalf of the group at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Benin, Preye Noel said the protest was to bring their problem to the notice of the Federal Government.
He said they have been trying to cope with the situation but are fed up with their current situation.
“We are helpless, we are confused, we are frustrated and that there is a need for us to cry out. Here we are today to tell the whole world that for the past seven months, our in-training allowances have not been paid.
“Some of our counterparts in other universities have been paid while we are receiving lectures in hunger and writing examinations in hunger. As we speak, many of us are from Bayelsa, Rivers and other Niger Delta states.
“Some of us spent two to three hours in flying boats before getting to Benson Idahosa University. We know virtually nobody in Benin.
“We have no brothers, sisters, friends and acquaintances to keep us going all these months we have not been paid. This amnesty programme was formed to resolve crisis in the Niger Delta. Think of it; for the past seven months, we are frustrated, we do not have what to eat and we are students, studying under such condition,” he said.
Noel called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the federal government and the authority concerned to come to their assistance to prevent them going back to the creek
“Some of us have been tempted to think of the old ways that led to the federal government amnesty programme.
“We are pleading with President Muhammadu Buhari to come to our aid by prevailing on the amnesty office, to ensure our monthly stipends are paid.
“We are appealing to the Ministry of Finance, to release funds because the story we heard was that there was no money.
“They have paid other schools. Our counterparts in other schools have been paid. We don’t know the crimes students of Benson Idahosa University have committed.
“That is why we have come here; please save our souls, pass our message to the whole world. All well-meaning Nigerians should prevail on the federal government to ensure we are paid. We do not want to go back to the creeks again,” he said.