By Matthew Denis
There was mild drama in Ilorin last Thursday, as the National Association of Kwara State Students (NAKSS) shut down the state secretariat housing about five ministries and the scholarship board over refusal of the government to release the N50 million as part of the payment for their bursary.
Recalled that the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Communication, Dr. Muyideen Akorede in a statement recently, stated that Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has approved the release of the sum of N50 million for the bursary of the students.
The students in their large numbers were seen chanting solidarity songs and vowing that nobody would be allowed in and out of the secretariat as they blocked the entrance and exit of the complex.
Also security agencies including DSS, Police and officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were strategically positioned outside the gates to avert any breakdown of law and order.
The Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Blikisu Oniyangi, who was on her way to office in her official Hilux vehicle was disallowed from gaining entrance into the secretariat as the gates remained shut.
The Commissioner alighted from her vehicle, walked straight to the gate and demanded that the students should be more responsible in carrying out their agitation.It took the NAKSS President, Comrade Musa Mohammed Mancha about 10 minutes to plead with his colleagues before they could open the walkway gate for Oniyangi while her vehicle was parked outside.
Speaking with newsmen, Mancha said, ” The reason we are staging this peaceful protest is primarily because of our bursary. The last time we met the Executive Governor of Kwara State, he promised us that N50 million would be made available to us latest last Friday.
“He said it clearly before pressmen that the Ministry of Finance will transfer the money to the scholarship board but to our greatest surprise, we met with the board and we were not getting the information on the way forward.
“Most of the students have been putting pressure on us that the Governor has pronounced the release and they don’t have confidence in us (the excos) any longer.
“In fact, when the students were not getting information on disbursement, they concluded that the excos have negotiated with the board to embezzle the money. That is why we came out en mass to show the students our position that we are yet to collect any money.”
The NAKSS President added that the students are no longer interested in the N50million earlier promised but the N300 million they earlier demanded.
He however said, the students have resolved to continue with the protest until their agitations are met.
When our reporter approached the commissioner to react she simply said the scholarship board is not under her jurisdiction.
Also efforts to reach the chairperson of the Scholarship Board, Barr. Fatimah Yusuff-Sheu proved abortive as calls put through her mobile phone were unanswered before this paper went to bed.