ByÂ Tony Edike
ENUGUâ€” STUDENTS of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, yesterday briefed leaders of thought in the area and blamed the outbreak of the studentsâ€™ protest in the institution on the Vice Chancellor, Professor Bartholomew Okolo.
They told the leaders, whoÂ facilitated the release of over 85 students detained by the police on Monday that Okolo rebuffed the leaders of the studentsâ€™ union over 20 times, when they made moves to dialogue with him on the planned fees increases.
â€œSuch efforts were over 20 times but at the end, the Vice Chancellor not only rebuffed us but also made himself completely unapproachable, unadvisable and his stand, non negotiable,â€ the aggrieved students told the leaders.
At the briefing which took place at Nsukka Civic Centre, the students disclosed that in one of their telephone calls to the VC,Â â€œhe told us in unmistakable words that education is not for the poor and this highly provocative statement contributed in no small measure to fuelling the already angry emotions of the predominantly poor student population of the university.â€
The position of the students was contained in a communique by the president of the studentsâ€™ Senate, Kingsley Asogwa, read on the occasion byÂ a member of theÂ House of Representatives of the student union government, Maxwell Akwuroha.
Among leaders and stakeholders present were the former chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area, Rev. Emma Oti, President-General, Nsukka Town Union, Mr. Augustine Alumona, Mr. Joseph Ogbuka and Dr.Uche Nnadozie, a lecturer in the university.
They had the mandate of other stakeholders in the area, including National Assembly members, traditional rulers and other opinion leaders and they had set up a peace negotiating committee to liaise between the VC and the protesting students.
They, however, asked the students to go home in compliance with the managementâ€™s order to vacate campus so as to give room for reconciliation and promised to take necessary steps to address the impasse.