Students from the riverine area of Ondo State under the aegis of Ilaje and Ese Odo Students Union have accused the state government of insensitivity due to non payment of their bursary.
It was gathered that the students are protesting the continued delay in the payment of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), bursary of 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 sessions.
The students who were armed with placards stormed the commission’s office in Oba-Ile, Akure North Local Government area of Ondo State accused the state government of playing politics with the issue which has been on since 2016.
Some of the placards inscriptions read: “It is our money, it is our oil money.” “Please Mr. Governor pay our bursary.”
According to the President , National Association of Ilaje Students, Balogun Adeola, the N40,000.00 (Forty thousand naira) annual bursary which is their entitlement as students of the Niger-Delta axis of the state has not been paid since 2016, adding that the issue has affected both the indigent students and their parents.
“We normally collect our bursary every year, but for the past six months, we’ve been waiting and pressurizing the state government and OSOPADEC on this issue. We were assured that within six months all the outstanding disbursements would have been met. This is the 8th month and nothing is being done.
“This is the 3rd year of non payment. We want Mr. Governor to tell us the true position of things as regards our money.
“As a result of this, we now have a lot of drop outs from school. Our parents are in the riverine area, they could not even get fish to sponsor us to school. The water is not good any more. We are suffering over there, even the token we do get from government, we are not even getting it. How do they want us to survive,” he said.
Also, Tina Tinatei who is the president of the Federation of Ese Odo Local Government Students maintained that their patience is being over stretched.
“You can see that the governor is playing politics with the payment of our bursary which is our constitutional rights. How can he approve bursary payment without cash backing?
“This is what we survive on. Most of us are yet to pay our school fees. We are suffering. The Governor should act fast and pay us our money,” Tina said.
The protest which lasted two hours temporarily paralysed activities in the Commission with security agents on ground to forestall breakdown of law and order.
Meanwhile, efforts to speak with the Chairman of the Commission, Gbenga Edema proved abortive as he was said to be out of the country.