President of the National Union of Ikwerre Students Worldwide, Mr. Onyebuchi Patrick Echenwo has accused the Rivers State government of paying lip service to issues concerning education in the state.
According to him, Rivers State students have not fared well under the Nyesom Ezenwo Wike led administration. He said “bursary in Rivers State is something that we have always fought for. As a matter of fact, earlier this year, we planned going for a protest to cry to the state government on what the students go through in school, but I will state it categorically that Rivers State government of today is the worst government that doesn’t value students education.
“I can remember right from the time of Odili down to Ameachi, I was one person who benefitted from bursary and I know that then there were bursary being paid to students. It started from N8,000, N9,000 and Amaechi paid N10,000 and to an extent, Amaechi also tried to see how to make some students have scholarship.
“During our commissioning of the Rivers State students secretariat in RSU, he made it clear, I am not even talking out of my own view but from what he stated that what will bursary do for student, that he is not paying any bursary. As a student then, he didn’t benefit from any bursary so on that ground he will not pay any bursary. So talking about the state of today, today’s government in Rivers State doesn’t value students at all.
“Even many times, we have tried to reach out to the state government and we have been turned down, even through our apex body which is the Rivers State student body, NURSS, national secretariat, we have tried to see how we can reach out but no way. So even when we tried to put up a protest, government keeps deaf ears to listen to us.”
He added that “This bursary goes along way for students but he stated it that what will ten thousand do for us. Students face a lot of challenges. This N10,000 or little stipend or bursary goes along way. In school, we buy text books for about two thousand, two thousand five and above, and if I get N10,000 I will be able to buy at least four text books or thereabout. So it helps. It goes along way. But stating that what will this amount do for us is out of it.
“My message to the current governor of Rivers State is for him to see ways, provide modalities for students at least those poor students to have a way of being catered for, because our people always say school is a sweet thing but it is always bitter when your parents doesn’t have money, government should please see those ones that cannot provide for themselves and even give scholarship through government platform. He should not undermine any sector in the government; education is one paramount sector you must look into.”
He further described the action of the student who took her own life over inability to pay school fees as heart aching and unfortunate, stating that it is not ideal to take one’s life.