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HomeGeneral NewsTUITION HIKE: NANS REGROUPS, GIVES UNILAG 48-HOUR ULTIMATUM TO REVERSE POLICY

TUITION HIKE: NANS REGROUPS, GIVES UNILAG 48-HOUR ULTIMATUM TO REVERSE POLICY

Barely 24 hours after disruption of student’s protest by the police in Lagos and arrest of five of them ,who were later released, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), has regrouped and now issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the he University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, to stop forthwith implementation of the new tuition fees being charged the students and return to the old fees.

The student’s body, on Thursday vowed again never to consent with UNILAG management nor any other public university in the country on new fees , arguing that their parents are poor and cannot afford additional fees.

Some Federal Universities have recently been reported to have increased their obligatory fees being charged the students while students and their parents have rejected the new fees calling on the school authorities to reverse the fees.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the National Public Relations Officer of NANS, who is also a final year student of UNILAG, Giwa Temitope, expressed disappointment particularly in the police for repressing their protest on Wednesday and arresting five of them.

He said the entire Nigerian students under the aegis of NANS at home and abroad condemned the action in its entirety, arguing that students just like every other Nigerian have the fundamental rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution to enjoy peaceful assembly and association.

He noted that aside the students of UNILAG and some national officers of NANS, students from the Lagos State University of technology, Ikorodu; the Students’ Union Government of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife and that of University of Ibadan (UI) and several others were all part of the Wednesdays protest, saying their involvement is a strong signal that Nigerian students reject any fee hike at least for now in any public schools in the country.He said their solidarity posture is highly commendable.

Giwa explained that the action of the police by clamping down on them could not in anyway force them to discontinue their lawful agitation against the implementation of fee hikes by any public university in the country including UNILAG. He insisted that this is not the right time for any university to jerk up fees as most families are going through very difficult times economically.

Giwa, however, explained that the students resorted to protest because the UNILAG management failed to honour the simple agreement reached with NANS leadership at a meeting held on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023, where the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, according to him, assured them that  the new fee would be reversed and then reviewed through a joint body of students and management of the university.

“But rather than the VC to honour the agreement, she entered into an unholy alliance with the State Police Commissioner to clampdown on students’ protest whereby some of us were injured and some including the National PRO of the association were arrested and taken to the police headquarters”, he said”.

While urging UNILAG Management to reconsider its stiff stance on the matter and within the next 48-hours reverse the new fees and refund those who might have struggled to pay, he vowed that the students would not be tired but sustain their protest until their demand is met.

He also urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a visitor to all federal universities in the country to prevail management and any other federal university considering to tow same path.

He pointed out that the country is bleeding economically and education cannot be traded for illiteracy as to be educated is part of the fundamental rights of every Nigerian.

In its own defence of the fee hike implementation, the authorities of UNILAG reaffirmed its commitment to implement certain measures aimed at ameliorating the challenges that students and their parents and guardians may face due to the development.

The university’s spokesperson, Mrs. Adejoke Alaga-Ibraheem, in a statement on Thursday, listed instalment payment in three phases in each academic year, revitalisation of a work-study programme for interested students to raise income, scholarship opportunities particularly for brilliant and indigent students, adopt students for sponsorship project by alumni and other well-meaning Nigerians, as well as special arrangement with the Lagos Bus Rapid Transport System to ease students movement on BRT corridors, as some of the measures, amongst others.

She urged the university community to remain calm and go about their legitimate activities, as the management is dedicated to ensuring safety of life and properties on campus.

She also pointed out that “there are different platforms through which UNILAG authorities engage with students, and other members of the University community, to hear them out, and collectively handle and address complaints within the shortest possible time.

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