Deputy Minister damns NUGS threat over utilities

Deputy Minister damns NUGS threat over utilities
Source: Ghana||Nathan Gadugah
Date: 26-04-2015 Time: 07:04:21:am

The Deputy Interior Minister has described as "unfortunate" threats by the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) in the wake of a new policy that will see students pay for utilities in the various tertiary campuses.

James Agalga said on Newsfile programme, Saturday, the threats are "unbecoming of many a student leader."

NUGS says it will make the country ungovernable if government went ahead to implement the controversial policy.

The threat follows government's announcement of  the new policy in a statement issued this week. The statement in part said, government had the consent of all stakeholders including student groups to implement the new policy

The statement said all stakeholders, including University Teachers Association of Ghana, (UTAG), Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana, (POTAG) , NUGS, GNUPS, the National Accreditation Board etc. met to discuss the issue thoroughly before a joint declaration was made.

But NUGS has dismissed the claim. It has challenged government to produce the documentation which included the signature of the NUGS representative who attended the meeting.

Whilst waiting for the documentation to be made public, NUGS insisted government must with immediate effect review the policy, failure which they will go on many 'aluta' processions.

But Agalga has called the bluff of the students.

He told Newsfile host Samson Lardy Anyenini, the threats were "reckless statement and should not be countenanced."

 He argued almost 70 per cent of Ghana's student population is residing in private hostels, and paying for utilities anyway.

He wondered why the remaining 30 per cent population is unwilling to pay for the utilities.

Agalga would rather the students go to the negotiation table than to issue threats.

But Egbert Faibille said government has been shoddy in the way it went about handling the matter.

He said it is "shameful" that NUGS will come and create a "believable doubt" in the minds of the public that it did not consent to the policy even though government claimed it did.

He expressed shock that for a government which has many former student leaders becoming ministers and deputy ministers to accept this policy is a complete aberration.

"Where are the Baba Jamals, the Haruna Iddrisus, the Mahama Ayarigas, Okudzeto Ablakawahs , the Omane Boahmahs" all of whom led many student agitations in protest against such policies? he asked.

He said for a government that is so profligate, it cannot be the case that it will be so insensitive to allow a policy like this to be implemented.

"Students are our incubators; if we cannot sacrifice for our students to get quality education... then we are doomed," he said.

"Let government  show proper fiscal discipline to free up monies to the university," he stated.