Residents of Otuoke, which hosts the Federal University, Otuoke, took to the streets of the town on Wednesday, disrupting academic activities at the institution.
They were protesting the alleged marginalization of indigenes in key positions in the university. Otuoke, which is located in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, is also the hometown of Nigeria’s immediate past president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The protest, which caused panic among students and staff of the institution, disrupted the movement of vehicles, while the entrance to the institution was blocked by the protesters.
The protest was led by members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Otuoke Chapter, who sang and clapped during the event.
The protesters carried placards with different messages, such as, "Bayelsans cannot be marginalized in our own lands," "We want fair representation, Bayelsans are qualified," “FUO na our oil well, Gbam!” and “It is our time, Bayelsans say.”
They called on the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Accra Jaja, to come down and address the situation.
Among their demands is the termination of the recent appointment of the institution’s Chief Legal Adviser, which, according to them, did not follow due process.
They said the appointment was a deliberate attempt to marginalize indigenes and also to further under-develop the people of the region.
Professor Jaja, who arrived to address the protesters in the company of the Deputy Vice Chancellor and some members of the University Senate, appealed for calm, promising to look into their demands.