I use pseudo names to read what you post on social media, Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu has told Copperbelt University students.
Prof Luo was speaking when she visited the institution last week Thursday after the recent protests against delayed meal allowances.
“And you know what I have done which all of you may not know, I have put myself on all the blogs where you discuss but I have put under a pseudo name so you don’t realise that I am reading what you are posting,” Prof Luo said.
And Prof Luo advised students with accommodation to stop overcharging their colleagues who were “squatting”.
“So our advice to you who are landlords and land ladies, you should start feeling sorry for your friends who also come from equally poor families full of poverty. So that is the problem, I would want to put to you to resolve, while on our side we are going to start sorting out sanitation. It means that you have an assignment and we have an assignment and together we are going to sort out this,” she said.
Prof Luo however observed that overcrowding in hostels affected sanitation.
“Now one of the things that I have learnt from your postings is that some of you have become landlords and land ladies and you advertise, when you are offered a room you advertise for space and you make your colleagues pay to you. Now the toilets that we have here and the bathrooms are meant for a certain number of students that’s why we are constructing new hostels. So what then happens is that when you also become landlords and land ladies in a room that should accommodate two students, you are six and one of you just testified that you are six of you in a room? So you put pressure on the sanitation,” she said.
Prof Luo said she would continue visiting all learning institutions to discuss issues affecting students.
“And as you are going on holidays starting tomorrow, when we come back from holidays, I am also going on leave, I am going to come back here and all the other institutions, because me I am a minister who does not sit in the office, I walk around and see what is going on and I will be monitoring what management is doing to ensure that your sanitation is sorted, I am also coming to see how you are doing on your part. So expect me in the new year,” said Prof Luo.
And the students, through a representative, appealed to the minister to stop police brutality on students.
“Allow me to also speak about police brutality. Madam guest of honor, as your children we cry to you please assist us with the police. In the night when the police raided the school, the students were beaten, the blood that was spilled was that of innocent students who were peacefully sleeping in their rooms. The police overstepped their jurisdictions, they are not supposed to come to the rooms where students are sleeping, breaking doors, insults, and we don’t know what grudge the police have against students at this university,” said the representative.
Meanwhile, one of the students who was brutalized by police said he hoped the officers involved would be brought to justice.
“It is by the grace of God that I am alive otherwise I was in a very bad state. I was not taken to the hospital right there and then I was taken to the cells in my innocent state I did not like that experience and I would not want to see it with other students who are coming but what I would love to say madam, the government is trying to raise youths with a bitter heart. I would love to see that those police are brought to justice,” said the student.
Professor Luo was received at the institution by placard-carrying students and lecturers with messages against police brutality and delayed payment of meal allowances and salaries.