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JUST IN: Protest Rocks Rivers College Of Health

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Aggrieved students of the Rivers State College of Health, Science and Management Technology (RSCHSMT) have barricaded the popular Ikwerre Road in Port Harcourt to protest the lack of basic amenities and decayed infrastructures in the school.

The students, who blocked the Agip Bridge end of the road on Tuesday, said they lacked electricity, water, classrooms and other basic facilities to aide their studies in the school.

Besides, the students cried that most of the courses in the school were not accredited and begged the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, to rescue the dying institution.

A former President, SUG, Goodness Uranta, said a structure, which was started by the school while he was still a student had remained under construction.

Uranta said: “I graduated from this school last year. They began a structure while I was in the school till today two years after, the structure is still as it has been. From what we gathered, money for the structure has been given.

“School fee has been increased but that isn’t the issue the reason for the increment is not visible. The school handles practical courses but throughout my two years in the school, I entered the lab only once because there is no equipment to carry out practicals.

“We are sent on Industrial Training (IT) placement no vehicle carries us we fund our fares to and fro. There is a light issue. Water is a big problem, what about the water log on the school premises?

“If it rains it is only by grace it doesn’t enter the hostels. You cannot step on dry ground because of the flood in the compound.

“The outlook of the school is beautiful but when you enter the building you see the level of decadence.

“The school is called a college of health but we the students are dying because the level of filth we live in is unimaginable. The government has totally abandoned the school.

“The provost has been in office for more than four years yet some schools in the college are have accredited. After graduation, you can’t work. I graduated in 2020 but till today, I can’t collect my certificate it is only my success letter I have been given.

“There are so many things the government needs to look into. The provost is yet to address the students. He isn’t doing well.”

One of the students, Deblessed Nnamdi, said the school was bedevilled with numerous unsolved problems.

He said: “The issues of the college are too numerous. They are beyond power outage and lack of water. The college made an increment of school fees and enacted a law that without school fees’ receipts you will not enter the classroom to learn nor write exams.

“There is much congestion in the hostels. The girls are suffering more. The boys have only one hostel in the whole college. The toilets are bad; there is a high level of infection in the college. Only one mono pump serves the entire school.

“Recently PHEC disconnected the college, the generator is down. We are in darkness. Despite that, the college has been collecting school fees and other unnecessary money that they impose on students.

“Most of the department in the school have no classrooms, we struggle to learn. We need the government to come in and make provision for these issues.

“Most lecturers went on strike some weeks ago because of poor payment. From what a lecture told me, he said he is paid N12000. Some don’t come to classes we don’t know what is going on between the administration and the lecturers.”

A member of the Student Union Government (SUG), Ntogo Dinebari, said they were in dire need of help and appealed to the government to come to their aid.

“We don’t have light at all. We don’t have power. The school is not accredited. We are cramped in one classroom. We need the governor to erect structures. Most departments don’t have practical equipment. We need help and we will not leave until the government sends representatives or come to our aid.”

Another student, Anthonia Ekpo, said infections were rife among students because of unhygienic school environment.

She said: “We are very angry, we leave our homes healthy but we come to school and we become heavily infected because of the poor sanitary situation we find ourselves in the college.

“When you go to class they teach you about radiation, yet we live in a heavily radiated environment due to the telecommunication mast-mounted within the premises.

“The water we drink is contaminated. For the sake of the lives of the students of Rivers State College of health science and management technology we plead with the government to come to our aid”.

A female hostel wing leader, who identified herself simply as Mira, said some students already had skin infections.

“We are not slaves. The hostels are leaking, the toilets are bad, the mattresses are in very bad shape yet we pay school fees, hostel fee and all. How can the government put someone who studied agriculture to become a provost in a school of Health College?

“A person who studied agriculture has no idea about health. We are not animals for him to manage. We need a provost that studied health or health-related courses to head the college.”

Reacting to the demands of the students, the Provost, Prof. Franklin Nlerum, said the students did not inform him about the lack of water on campus.

He said: “I was not informed that there was no water in the school, ideally it was a long weekend so they would have approached me so we could present the issue to the management to handle the issue.

“Instead they choose to take to the street to protest what would have been handled internally. The school generator is old, before this time we used a small generator to pump water for the students. I didn’t know is also bad.

“Many of the courses need accreditation. We have made our views known to the government, and the government is expected to do something about it.”

He said the school fees were used to hire lecturers, maintain sanitation, cut the grass and handle other issues.

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