Amnesty Students Besiege Nigerian Embassy In South Africa

Channels Television  
Updated October 30, 2015

 AmnestyMore than 30 Nigerian students under the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme have besieged the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria over what they call unpaid stipends, going back four months.

The students, who came in buses from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province, travelled over a thousand kilometres to the mission and insisted they would remain there till they are paid.

Speaking to Channels Television via telephone, the student leader, Thankgod Emesiobi, gave a breakdown of their claims; four months in-training allowance, three months accommodation fees, their annual book allowance had been unpaid, 36 students had already been evicted and exams are just a few days away.

That, however, was not their only problem. The Defense Adviser of the Nigeria High Commission in Pretoria, Samaila Lassa, said, “There are issues of visa expiration, passport expiration, which nobody knew, and from what I gathered, there has not been any link at all between the Amnesty Office and the High Commission. Otherwise we would have been in the picture that this was the problem on ground.”

The problem of payment was somewhat sorted during the protest and the students went back to base.

The Acting Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Martins Cobham, said “The good thing is that before they left, we were able to succeed in procuring some of their money by way of alert which they received while even at the premises of the High Commission.

“A good number of them got their money paid to them and they were able to leave peacefully.”

For those whose documents have expired and therefore bank accounts frozen, the trapped fund is another additional headache but the students say they are hopeful they would be better cared for, going forward.