Student leader reports overwhelming support during awareness

University students carrying out awareness in the highlands region received overwhelming support from the rural populace.

The University of Technology’s SRC committee deputy chairman and Eastern Highlands student leader, Livingstone Fontenu, told Loop PNG that approximately 4000 people turned up at their first forum at Goroka last week.

“A handful of policemen and provincial government workers, who had children in universities, came and told us to go ahead with the forum,” Fontenu said.

“The public made a contribution of K1,840 to us that day.”

The next day (Thursday), they travelled to Henganofi to conduct their awareness on the current issue that PNG is facing with its economy, including the call for the prime minister to step aside and clear his name.

“Around 900 people were present to listen to us,” said the student leader. “Henganofi contributed K470 and gave to us.

“We drove to Kainantu and had the last forum at around 2pm. It was raining but the support was overwhelming.

“They contributed around K1,200 and gave to us.”

Unitech was accompanied by representatives from the University of Papua New Guinea and the University of Goroka.

The students have so far campaigned in Madang, Morobe, East Sepik and the Highlands region, except for Hela Province. This is because the province is still mourning the loss of late governor Anderson Agiru.

The Eastern Highlands police warned the students from carrying out awareness or protests in the province due to the death of UOG acting vice-chancellor Dr John Kola.

“However, we all knew that this is a national issue so since there was no time to lose, we went ahead to stage the awareness,” Fontenu told Loop PNG.

Police are reportedly looking for the student “ringleaders”.

“We are waiting for them (police) to come arrest us here.

“We received independence on a golden plate, no one shed blood for this country. No one understands what it means to be free, no one cares and respects its sovereignty.

“We are more than ready to take a bullet for the love of our motherland.”

(University of Technology students during their awareness trip up the highlands region. Picture: Elton Namaro)



Carmella Gware