Students of mandate areas of Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas of Ondo State on Wednesday shut down activities at the office of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, OSOPADEC.
The students from various tertiary institutions across the country armed with placards converged on the premises of the commission in Oba-Ile, Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State to agitate the alleged scrapping of their 2016/2017 OSOPADEC bursary allowance.
The placards read, “Edema is a Scam,” “Bursary is our right,” “Don’t use our money for your son’s wedding,” “Edema release our 2016/2017 bursary,” “Our Bursary is our right,” and “Edema wants to divert bursary meant for over 5000 students.”
According to the students who were chanting various solidarity songs, Chairman of the Commission, Gbenga Edema is allegedly planning to divert their 2016/2017 bursary arrears by refusing to pay them.
Iyanu Akingboye, a law student who led the protest stated that, “Our agitation is based on the intentional act of the chairman and the state governor, Arakunrin Olawarotimi Akeredolu to intentionally scrap 2016/2017 OSOPADEC bursary scheme.
“Before now, we had engaged them in series of meetings but it has not been fruitful as the chairman is not ready to listen to us.
“And the lies they have been spreading around is that most of us are no longer students. But the truth is that most of us are still in school.”
Also, Funmilayo Obolo maintained, “we are here because OSOPADEC Chairman wants to skip our 2016/2017 budget which is still in arrears.
“This is 2019 and they are still owing us arrears of two years. And now they are bringing 2017/2018 instead of 2016/2017 bursary.
“Most of us are still in school while those who have graduated were not paid either.
“Our prayer is that the chairman should immediately pay our outstanding bursary because it is never a privileged but our right. We in the mandate areas are really suffering.
She added that, “Even, the bursary should be N100, 000 but they are giving us N40,000
“When you compare the development in other parts of the state to the riverine area you will know that we are really suffering. So the bursary is a sort of compensation for all that we are going through.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo assured that all will be done to ensure that the issue is resolved.
He emphasized that the essence of mobilizing policemen to the commission was to prevent the breakdown of law and order by the students.