By MALUM NALU
ENGA students attending the University of Papua New Guinea walked out of a meeting with Governor Sir Peter Ipatas on Saturday, saying they will continue the boycotting of classes.
The students, some painted with mud and limping from injuries allegedly sustained during last Wednesday’s confrontation with police, were invited to discuss their ongoing boycott with Sir Peter and other Enga leaders.
They maintain that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill should step down and allow investigations into allegations of corruption against him to proceed.
Journalists there to cover the meeting were asked to leave after the students arrived.
Enga Development Foundation chairman Peter Mision-Yaki, a former UPNG student leader, told reporters that Sir Peter had urged the students to return to classes today.
“Governor told them that you have come this far, you have made your position known, country has heard it, prime minister has heard it, Members of Parliament have heard it,” Mision-Yaki said.
“He urged everybody to go back to classes on Tuesday.
“If they decide to go back to their boycott, then they are doing so at their own peril. We couldn’t discuss further.
“Governor told them what he expects of them. This was the first proper engagement with Enga students.
“Governor Ipatas’ position is that they’ve done enough – five weeks of protests and boycotts – and they cannot do this at the expense of their own education.”
Former PNG abassador Evan Paki said Sir Peter and Enga leaders wanted to tell the students that they were “treading on dangerous ground”.
He said they were not many universities in PNG and when classes were cancelled, unlike other countries, “students had no choice but to go home”.
“Then they will compete for the limited number of spaces next year,” Paki added.
“The worst hit will be the first-year students because you’re going to have school leavers coming through the system.”
By MALUM NALU