Serenity it seems, is gradually returning to Amassoma, the host town of Niger Delta University, (NDU), Bayelsa State, after days of unrest which reportedly led to loss of some lives.
Journalists, who visited the town yesterday, observed that the streets were empty, and although life was beginning to pick up and activities starting to return to normal, the once busy town was still deserted and devoid of the usual hustling and bustling.
The main campus of the university was under lock while a detachment of security operatives made up of police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, operatives were stationed outside just to keep the place as calm as possible.
No fewer than 15 police vans were sighted including an Armoured Personnel Carrier stationed at the school gate, while other vans patrolled the town.
Economic and social activities were virtually absent as most shops and business centres remained shut.
No fewer that three people had been reported dead, as the members of the community clashed with the police over the closure of the university.
Trouble started when a group of security operatives forcefully opened the gate of the institution for staff to access their offices without clearance from the angry indigenes.
It was gathered that the university’s gate was sealed up by aggrieved community women, whose names were removed from NDU’s payroll after they were indicted by the ongoing public sector reforms being carried out by the state government.
The women, who insisted that government must rescind its decision, were said to have hired the services of a welder to permanently seal the university’s gate.
As a way of resolving the week-long impasse, government raised a team of negotiators last Friday led by the Chief of Staff, Talford Ongolo, and the Commissioner for Education to meet with the protesters and the host community.
It was learned that part of the resolutions reached was that the university should review the fate of the sacked workers and that they suspend the protest to allow academic activities resume.