From Nnamdi Ofonye, Owerri
A coalition of students from all the federal institutions in Imo State has stage a protest for the second time in weeks. They are demanding that the state government commence the payment of bursary to them so as the put them at par with their state counterparts.
The students are from the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri and Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri. They assembled in an umbrella organisation known as the National Imo students Assembly, NISA
They argue that if the government could afford to offset the 100% school fees of their brothers and sisters who school in the state own tertiary institutions, it is not out of place if they are compensated with at least bursary to give them a sense of belonging as citizens of the state.
Governor Rochas Okorocha while addressing the protesters assured them that he will look into their plights but appealed to them to return to their hostels and allow the state government to sort out the issues.
Since the commencement of the free education policy of the Okorocha led administration, various forms of criticisms have greeted it both by a section of students and stakeholders alike. Some critics had alleged that there is no free education in real terms in Imo State. They argue that the scheme is designed in such a manner that will make the students indirectly fund the institutions through other levies and fees.
However, it is hoped that the government will go back to the drawing board and come up with a plan that will address all the issues been raised.