The Minority Caucus in Parliament has given GHS2,000 to the leadership of the Ghana School of Hygiene students who picketed the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources on Monday, 17 August 2020 following their dispersal by the police.
The students claim they were beaten and tortured by the police officers who drove them away at the behest of the Director of the ministry.
Speaking to the aggrieved students on behalf of former President John Mahama, flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and his running mate Prof Naana Jane Opoku-AGyemang, Ningo Prampram MP Sam Nartey George said: “It is this dishonesty that the Mahama-Jane Naana ticket say we must end in our body politic”, adding: “Politicians must keep their words. Politicians must be honest when they make promises and make promises that they can keep”.
“We bring you his [Mr Mahama’s] warn regards and his condolences on the maltreatment that has happened to you today”, he said.
“We have seen the use of electronic shocks in the videos, we have seen the use of pepper spray”, the opposition lawmaker noted.
In his view, “unarmed non-violent Ghanaian students must never be treated this way by their own country and I can assure you that this will never happen in the next Mahama administration from the 7th of January 2021”.
“It is the desire of President Mahama and Prof Naana Jane that you all get back to your places safe and sound.
“As a minority caucus in parliament, we are going to be providing you a token amount of GHS2,000. The NDC minority in parliament stands with you and we echo the words of our flag bearer and running mate.
“This money is supposed to help you get back to your campuses or to places where you have come from. We will continue to fight in parliament to ensure that what is due you is paid you”, Mr Nartey George said.
The students converged on the premises of the Ministry to picket in connection with the failure by the government to pay their three-year outstanding allowance.
The students started arriving at dawn.
Monday’s picketing was a sequel to a similar one held about two weeks ago by the final-year students who invaded the same premises in the early hours of Thursday, 6 August 2020 over the same grievances.
According to the students, their allowances have been completely scrapped without reason despite the government restoring allowances for other nursing students, adding that, though they are the highest fee-paying nursing school, they receive no money from the government.
To top it all, they get sacked over unpaid fees.
These have left them with no other option than to take action.
On Tuesday, 21 July 2020, Class News reported that the students had boycotted their final exam for the same reason.
A section of the students bemoaned their current situation, posing questions as to why they have been left out.
The students demanded the financial clearance due them, an extension of their final-year examination (which they boycotted earlier) and also that school fees defaulters be allowed to sit the examination since the government owes them.
One of them said that President Akufo-Addo made them a promise during his campaign prior to the 2016 elections, “to pay the allowance” and “give special treatment to students of the School of Hygiene.”
He said: “This time around, we need to get our money. We are receiving our money because it is due time for us to receive the money. We are beneficiaries, so, why are they doing this to us? When the President restored the allowances, even before the president came to power, it was at the School of Hygiene forecourt that he promised that he was going to pay the allowance and that he was going to give special treatment to students of schools of hygiene. Is this the special treatment?”
Another student, who had resolved to sleep at the premises of the Sanitation Ministry until attention is given to them, questioned the whereabouts of a supposed amount of money that was initially allocated to them because their details were taken as beneficiaries.
“I wouldn’t have been here if I am not determined to sleep here. One thing I want to ask the government and the Ministry is, during the launch of this allowance, the President allocated some amount to be paid to us. I think it is GHS232 million. Where is our share of that money?” she quizzed.