Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Students of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, MOUAU, on Tuesday, embarked on a peaceful protest over attempts by Management to stop those who have not paid their school fees from writing their first semester examination.
The irate students barricaded entrance points to various offices in the university including the entrance gate to the university, chanting ” no gree for anybody.”
They also blocked the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene federal highway passing through the area, thus causing traffic snarl on the road.
Some students claimed that they had paid their school fees and were captured during the biometric data verification but the machine failed to recognise their identify so as to grant them access to the examination halls.
They argued that it would be unfair to punish them for the failure of the machines.
However, some accounts blamed the failure of the defaulting students on the prevailing harsh economy in the country.
According to dome voices of students in a video, the protest was a spontaneous reaction to the approach of the Management over the fee drive.
The situation was said to have led to a sudden suspension of the ongoing examination.
Meanwhile, the Acting Public Relations Officer, PRO of the university, Mr Patrick Okpara, has confirmed the incident but said that the situation had been brought under control.
He said that the students should have brought the complaint of any grievance to the Students Affairs office for attention instead of resorting to protest.
According to him, the students were given ample time to go for biometric verification “which was in their own interest.”
He, however, said it was not a violent protest but a peaceful protest, adding that things will soon be sorted out.
“They are still our students. We are giving them chance to calm down. We have spoken to them in the morning. Everywhere is calm. There is no violence, there is no destruction. They will be addressed properly and we will come to a consensus.”
MOUAU is one of the three specialised universities of Agriculture in the country.