President Goodluck Jonathan’s hometown, Otuoke, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, was on Thursday thrown into chaos.
Aggrieved youths from the President’s community protested the alleged refusal of the Federal University, Otuoke, to employ and give out admission slots to indigenes of the community.
The protesting youths barricaded the entrance to the university.
The protest, which started at about 8am lasted many hours, leading to the closure of the entrance into temporary sites of the institution and the disruption of examinations for pioneer students and the 200-level students of the institution.
It was learnt that the protest was called off by the irate youths following the intervention of riot policemen and the military from the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield.
Also, head of the Oloibiri of the Ijaw Youths Council, led by Mr. Osaanya Osaanya, the Ogbia clan head of the Ijaw National Congress, Chief Wilson Obi and the Chairman of the Oloibiri Clan Youth Assembly, Ifiola Moses implored the youths to cease hostilities.
The protesting Otuoke youths said recruitment had not been done in the last two years.
The youths demanded that a total 319 names agreed by the community should be employed. We also demand admission slots from the university.
They also demanded a Memoradum of Understanding with the community on issues of employment and admission.
But the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, reacting to the incident, said the university had never failed in engaging the host community of Otuoke on issues of employment and admission as stipulated in the provided legislation.
He said, “Community pressure will come up and we have handled them well. But we don’t want to be compelled and the academic activities of the students distrupted.
“It is not the protest by the youths that forced us to listen but the need to sustain our community relations policy and not allow community/students clash.”
Aluko said the institution currently had in its employ a total number of 1,300 and a student capacity of 1,040.
He added that the quota system of employment showed that indigenes of various communities in the state had 760 in its employment.
He said Ogbia and Otuoke communities have 350 and 150 persons respectively.
Aluko noted that an agreed MoU had been reached with the community through the paramount ruler, Obanema of Otuoke.
He said, “We have agreed to engage the indigenes based on the increasing requirements of employment in the next few months. The demanded names submitted for employment were done without required qualifications and we have asked them to attach to the names their qualifications and we will conduct interviews to affirm competence.
“We have informed them that we must be careful about fulfilling the Federal Character provision. It is possible we will increase our employment quota by 25 per cent due to our increasing needs but we must follow due process. And we have also insisted that the admission slots given to the community and others must be in compliance with the provision of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board.”
Posted From iProdigy Group Nigeria(Dabibi Ori-ibim’s Blog).
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