Angry students in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State under the aegis of National Association of Ibeno Students, NAIS, have shut the council secretariat over non-payment of their bursary.
The action of the angry students disrupted this year’s Children’s Day celebration in the area as all school children and teachers, voluntary organisations, security agents, council officials, including the transition chairman, Mr. Henry Ekpe Nko, were locked out from the council secretariat and venue of the Children’s Day celebration.
The students were said to have blocked all entrance and exit routes to the council secretariat since last week with palm leaves and banner of the association.
The students displayed placards with inscriptions such as ‘No bursary, no 27 May in Ibeno,’ ‘Oga chairman, pay us our bursary for four years,’ ‘Aluta Continua,’ among others.
Vice president of the association and the assistant secretary general, Comrades Benjamin Okpo Eshiet and Joshua Samuel Akpan, said the protest was as a result of over four years of non-payment of bursary to students from the area, even after several negotiations with the council chairman.
“We have been having several meetings with the chairman, writing many letters but we wouldn’t have any positive response from the council. It is three days now since we started this protest but neither the chairman nor any of his committee members could say anything we want to hear, instead the chairman is telling us that if we are tired we will vacate.
“As you can see there was no 27th May celebration here in Ibeno; we will not get tired until our right is given to us. Come to think of it, we are one of the host communities of ExxonMobil, but it is so sad that the company has never given any of our students the opportunity of Industrial Training in the company. We have been complaining this to the authority of our local government and nothing is done about it,” they said.
Neither the chairman nor the supervisor for education in the area, Mrs. Esther Paul, could be reached as at press time but some residents of the area described the incident as a big blow to the council administration, calling on the chairman to look into the situation.


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