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Varsity protest: Gov. Dickson regrets loss of lives, pledges resolution of crisis

 

Gov. Henry Seriake Dickson

By Nathan Nwakamma

  The Bayelsa Government has regretted loss of lives to Niger Delta University (NDU) workers’ protest, promising to resolve the crisis  in the university located at Amassoma in Southern Ijaw LGA.

The state Gov. Seriake Dickson gave the assurance at a meeting with stakeholders, including the leadership of the community and the governing council of the university.

In a statement in Yenagoa on Saturday, the Special Adviser to Dickson on Public Affairs, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said that the governor was sad at the crisis.

According to Alabrah, the state government will pay hospital bills of the injured and foot the burial expenses of the dead.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that aggrieved workers affected by ongoing staff rationalisation protested sack of 1,700 staff of the university.

They also clashed with armed security personnel deployed to reopen the university gates which they shut.

This led to violence and death of about 10 persons.

Alabrah said in the statement that the state government would send a formal delegation to commiserate with the bereaved families.

The official added that the government would resolve issues leading to detention of some persons in connection with the crisis.

He gave the assurance that efforts would be intensified to reopen the institution soon.

The aide called on the people of the state to be wary of those bent on fomenting crisis to destabilise the state.

According to him, Dickson was accompanied by a former Delta Governor, Chief James Ibori, to the meeting which held at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.

According to the official, Dickson described the incident as unfortunate, sad and avoidable, and urged the people not to take laws into their hands.

He said that the government would set up two separate committees to examine the immediate and remote causes of the disturbances, and promote genuine reconciliation, peace and unity in Amassoma.

He noted that the Seriake Dickson administration  made huge investments in the university.

He said that Amassoma occupied a special place in the governor’s heart, which informed his administration’s decision to invest in the development of the institution and establishment of its single biggest investment of N80 billion Bayelsa International Airport in the community.

“The NDU remains a state-owned university, completely funded by the government of Bayelsa.

“With the investments we have made and continue to make, it is very clear that our plans for the NDU are good.’’

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