By Gabriel Chy Alonta & Arinze Anaegbunam
Scores of students and graduates of the Food Technology Department, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra state, on Thursday, staged a peaceful protest over alleged delay in the mobilisation of graduates of the department for the National Youth Service Corps since 2016, due to lack of accreditation.
The protesters, comprising of graduates of the department from 2016-2018, marched from their department to the institution’s administrative building with placards, wailing and calling for urgent intervention.
Orient Weekend gathered that before the protesters stormed the administrative block, the school management had sent emissaries, including officials of the school anti-cult squad, to dissuade them from carrying out the protest, as the current school administration led by the rector, Dr. Mrs F. U Nwafulugo, is working towards fast-tracking the accreditation process.
The protesters, in a letter addressed to the rector, dated 3rd July, 2019, and signed by the representatives of the students, lamented the failure of the institution to accredit the department, resulting in undue delay of students, who graduated since 2016.
“Since we have waited four years for the accreditation of the Food Technology Department and it never came, we, hereby, demand that school management mobilise the three pending set of graduates for NYSC through any means they deem fit, and, preferably, the Batch B Stream 2, which is on the 17th of July, 2019”.
The students said that in spite of the N2,000 accreditation fee and N3,500 departmental development fee paid by over 800 students, nothing has been done.
According to the students, they wrote dozens of letters to the school management on the same issue, but that the letters yielded no result.
In the statement, the students recalled confronting the management on the accreditation issue to ascertain their stand on issues concerning mobilisation for Food Technology students, but regretted that their entire plea fell on deaf ears; expressing worry that majority of parents are in doubt if they ever went to school.
The students further urged the rector, Dr. Francisca Nwafulugo, to urgently look into the sad development, while also appealing on the Federal Ministry of Education Nigeria (FMEN); National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) and NBTE, to intervene.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of the polytechnic and Deputy Registrar, Mr. Obini Onuchukwu, who addressed the protesters in front of the administrative building, explained that efforts are on to address their concerns.
“Your demonstration today is not your fault; and you’re not to blame for it. You are fortunate to have a rector, who has made it a crux to ensure that your recurring complaints are permanently resolved. She has journeyed severally to Kaduna and Abuja to ensure that your complaints are met.”