Nigeria: Protest over Management Neglect: Benue’s Otukpo Varsity Host Community Raises Concerns

Nigeria: Protest over Management Neglect: Benue’s Otukpo Varsity Host Community Raises Concerns

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

A coalition of three youth groups in Benue State has come together under the umbrella of the Otukpo Redemption Movement (ORM), Otukpo Youth Forum (OYF), and the Otukpo Accountability Forum (OAF). They have taken a stand against what they perceive as neglect from the management of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otada, Otukpo (FUHSO).

The protest, which began on Monday, saw youths marching from Edikwu Junction to the university’s entrance, carrying placards with messages such as “FUHSO VC runs school as private entity,” “FUHSO VC has no regards for the host community policy on employment,” “No management meeting in FUHSO for four years,” “FUHSO VC and the MD have no regard for the Federal Character Principle,” among others.

Alechenu Adah, the spokesman for the protesting youths, addressed the gathering, expressing their discontent with the university’s management. He highlighted the lack of employment opportunities for the youths of the host community and the Teaching Hospital, as well as the absence of a management meeting for four years. Adah stressed the importance of an impartial justice system in creating a peaceful society and called for the equitable distribution of employment opportunities.

The youths vowed to occupy the university’s entrance for 14 days until their demands were met. They accused the FUHSO Vice Chancellor of running the school as a private entity and contracting security and environmental services to relatives, thus depriving the host community of employment opportunities.

They also criticized the FUHSO Teaching Hospital, alleging that it was being run by the Medical Director from Agatu Local Government, his hometown. They questioned the appointment of six departmental heads from the same place and claimed that FUHSO was the most expensive federal university, making it inaccessible to peasant farmers.

The protesters called for the removal of Professor Innocent Ujah and Dr. Silas Ochenjele, urging independent arbiters to address the issues and prevent a breakdown of law and order.

In response, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Stephen Abah, commended the youths for their peaceful protest and assured them of a dialogue. He emphasized the importance of peace and expressed his willingness to respond to their demands within 14 days.

The protest highlights the concerns of the Otukpo host community and calls for a fair and just distribution of employment opportunities at FUHSO and its Teaching Hospital. It also emphasizes the need for transparent and inclusive decision-making processes within the institution.

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