Thursday, February 22, 2024

LEARNING IN CRISIS: UNICAL students protest 100% hike in school fees

  • OAUTH students cry over increment of tuition from N250, 000 to N840, 500

  • UNILORIN bows to pressure, slashes school fees

  • Ogun Poly suspends lectures over robbery attacks

  • Fear grips OAU female students as suspected rapists prowl hostels

  • Bauchi varsity shut over undergraduate’s murder


Academic activities were halted at the University of Calabar, Cross River State, on Monday following students’ protests against the 100 per cent hike in the institution’s tuition fees.

The management of the University had announced an increase in the university’s tuition fees for undergraduates by over 100 per cent.

The announcement was made in a statement made available to newsmen in Calabar on Monday.

In the statement by the institution’s spokesman, Effiong Eyo, it said the upward review of the fees was taken at an emergency meeting of the university’s Senate on Friday.

The release disclosed that the implementation of the upward review will take effect in the 2022–2023 and 2023–2024 academic sessions.

The increment means that freshers, returning students, and final-year students for the non-science courses are expected to pay N111,000, N91,500, and N114,000, respectively.

In addition, they are also to pay N36, 500, N21, 500, and N21, 500, respectively, as third-party dues.

Similarly, fees for science courses were increased to N155, 000, N125, 000, and N148, 000, respectively, for freshers, returning students, and final-year students.

Likewise, they are also to pay N38, 500, N21, 500, and N21, 500, respectively, as third-party dues.

Prior to the increment, tuition fees for an average student, depending on the department, were N64, 050 for freshers, N52, 050 for final-year students, and N49, 500 for returning students.

The management noted that the increment was necessitated by the current economic realities and the need to maintain the academic standard the university is known for.

Following the announcement, the students, who embarked on a peaceful protest to register their dissatisfaction, barricaded the roads leading into the campus, thus preventing workers from coming in.

The protest also caused gridlock on the roads, compelling some motorists to make a U-turn.

The students were armed with placards and leaves and begged passersby to assist them in prevailing on the school management to slash the fees.

One of the students said, “This is wickedness. How can the school management increase our fees by 100 per cent? They don’t even care how we feel. It is insensitive for the school management and we demand a revision of the hiked tuition.”

OAUTH students cry over increment of tuition from N250, 000 to N840, 500

Also, there is disquiet at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital College of Nursing after the management increased its tuition fees from N250, 000 to N840, 500, amounting to over 200 per cent increment.

As gathered by The Point, the breakdown for the tuition fees is Remita Fees – N732, 500, PTF – N50, 000 and Payment to school – N58, 000.

According to students and parents, the increment is insensitive to those who had even been struggling to pay the previous N250, 000 fees.

“These students cannot afford these payments. They are struggling with the former payment and this new payment will lead to massive dropouts,” one of the parents said.

A female student said, “I know a good number of students that were barely fed when they were in school because their parents took loans for their school fees and they had nothing to fall back on. This increment will not only cause pain and confusion but it will send a lot of students packing. We need help please.”

The increment by OAUTH College of Nursing management, like many other federal universities, is usually premised on excuses such as the need to boost their revenue generation amid poor funding by the government.

Some of the federal universities where tuition fees have also been increased are University of Lagos (UNILAG) University of Maiduguri (UNIMAD), University of Uyo, (UNIUYO), University of Calabar (UNICAL), Federal University Dutse, Federal University, Lafia (FULafia) Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, University of Ilorin(UNILORIN), Ahmadu Bello University(ABU), Zaria and among others.

In University of Lagos, students of the institution previously paid N19, 000 but the management has fixed new fees at N190, 250 for students studying medicine while for courses that require laboratory and studio, students are to pay N140, 250.

The decision by the management of UNILAG raised apprehension among students and parents.

In Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State, students in the Faculties of Arts, Law and Humanities, the ‘freshers’ would pay N151,200 while returning students of the same faculties would pay N89,200.”

Returning students in the faculties were paying N20, 100 before the increase while Faculties of Technology and Science paid N28, 100. Also, the Faculty of Pharmacy students paid N31, 100 per session.

UNILORIN bows to pressure, slashes school fees

Likewise, the management of the University of Ilorin, Kwara State on Monday announced a downward review of school charges payable by students in the 2022/2023 academic session as they resumed academic activities.

The news was contained in the UNILORIN news bulletin published on Monday.

The management said that it announced the new charges following a series of meetings between the management of the university, led by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Abayomi Omotesho, and the Students’ Union, led by its President, Joseph Ologundudu.

The new charges range between N114, 720 and N215, 820 for new students and N52, 700 and N91, 430 for returning students, depending on courses of study.

This shows a reduction from the earlier released charges, which ranged between N138, 240 and N254, 640 for new students and N69, 360 and N103, 560 for returning students, depending on courses of study.

The university had on Friday, November 24, 2023 released charges on the university’s official social media platforms but announced a downward review on November 28, 2023 after the meeting with the students’ union leadership.

The bulletin quoted the Deputy Vice Chancellor as saying that the university addressed the students’ concerns through dialogue to demonstrate its commitment to fostering a supportive and conducive learning environment for all members of the academic community.

The President of the Students’ Union, Ologundudu, thanked the university management for its thoughtfulness as reflected in the adjustment of the charges.

Ogun Poly suspends lectures over robbery attacks

Meanwhile, the management of Gateway ICT Polytechnic, Sapaade, Ogun State, on Monday, announced the closure of the institution following incessant robbery attacks on students.

The management directed the students to stay out of school for the next two weeks.

It was gathered that armed robbers had been attacking students of the polytechnic, dispossessing them of their valuables while also raping the females.

In the latest robbery incident which occurred last Saturday, a student was killed while about nine others were injured.

The marauders had in the last two weeks carried out more than three attacks on students and residents of Isara, Ipara and Ode Remo communities.

Angered by the incessant attacks, the students last week staged a protest to express their grievances.

The situation has, however, forced the management to shut down the school pending when normalcy is restored.

The President of the Students’ Union Government of the Polytechnic, Olatunji Alexander, also confirmed this development on Monday.

In a memo signed by the Acting Registrar of the Polytechnic, J O Popoola, the school management announced the introduction of online classes for the students who just resumed for the 2023/2024 academic session.

The memo reads, “I have the directive of management to inform all students in the polytechnic that all physical lectures have been suspended on campus for the next two weeks with effect from Monday, December 4, 2023.

“Given this development, all students are to note that online lectures have commenced with immediate effect, therefore students are directed to join online classes to continue lectures for the current semester.

“To this end, all students are to steer clear of the polytechnic premises till physical lectures resume again at a date that will be communicated soon.”

Fear grips OAU female students as suspected rapists prowl hostels

In the same vein, fear has reportedly gripped female students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State over cases of attempted rape on their campus hostels.

The strange men who are always on masks were said to prowl the hostels at wee hours in order to harass and rape female undergraduates in their rooms.

The latest incident happened on Sunday when a yet to be identified man invaded the Moremi Hall, a female hostel of the institution and attempted to rape a female student.

It was learnt that the incident occurred on Sunday around 3:45am.

The victim, identified as Blessing while narrating the incident, said the man wore a black cap, holding a pair of scissors and demanded to satisfy his sexual urge.

She said, “I cannot recognise his face because he was wearing a facemask, putting on a black cap and wielding scissors at me. He instructed me not to shout.

“I asked him if he wanted anything, my laptop and my phone were on the table but he kept on groping me. I don’t know how I managed to drag the scissors with him and started shouting.”

The victim’s roommate, who craved anonymity while narrating her part, said that she left the room to read while the victim was praying.

She added, “She must have slept off unconsciously while praying and forgot to lock the door.”

There have been multiple reports of some men entering rooms in the hall at night.

In the previous week, it was gathered that an instance of the ugly development occurred in Block G and another in Block E just a day before the incident with the victim.

While speaking, the chairperson of Moremi Hall, Ewaoluwa Alawode, said for every incident, the hall warden and porters became aware when they raised an alarm which is always between 02:00 am and 05:00 am.

According to her, the hall warden and porters have been on top of it.

She said in response to the previous incidents, “the porters had heightened their vigilance, the Division of Student Affairs was also making efforts towards increased security measures, and the CSO of the school had even queried some of the vigilante men over their negligence.”

According to her, she does not know the causes of the occurrences as “one cannot know the motivating factor in the mind of an evildoer.”

She, however, opined that certain environmental factors have contributed to it, as the fencing around the hall is very low, most especially around the architecture department.

Reacting, Professor J.A Odedire, the Dean, Division of Student Affairs, said the recent security breach in the hall of residence has been brought to their notice.

He implored the residents of the hall to uphold the security consciousness that OAU students are known for.

He also pointed out that the University management was making deliberate efforts to know the causes of the incidents and also provide measures to stall future occurrences.

He enjoined students in the hall of residence to remain calm and continue to go about their daily activities with no fear.

Bauchi varsity shut over undergraduate’s murder

In a similar development, management of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi has shut down the school following students’ protest over the killing of a 500-level student by suspected armed robbers who robbed him of his mobile phone.

The final year Geology student, Joseph Agabaidu, was stabbed by some assailants while trying to steal his mobile phone.

Agabaidu was said to be returning to his lodge situated around the Yelwan Tudu market in the Yelwa area, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis around 7pm on Saturday when he was attacked and was rushed to the hospital for medical treatment but could not survive the severe injuries from the knife.

The incident sparked a protest among students of the school who came out in their numbers at the Yelwa Campus.

They came out to express their anger at the inadequate security in and around the campus and to call for the attention of the management and the government.

But following the protest, the management led by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sani Kunya, and the state chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities tried to pacify the students who locked the two gates of the university for over four hours to open them, but they refused.

Following this “act of disrespect” by the students to the management, the school was shut down for the next one week in order to douse tension on the campus.

According to a statement by the Deputy Registrar Academic, Fatima Abdullahi, the Vice Chancellor approved the closure of the institution.

According to her, the protest carried out by “miscreants” disrupted the peace being enjoyed on the campus.

She said that the management directed all students to immediately vacate the two campuses, adding that the school security guards have been directed to enforce strict compliance.

She said, “As you may recall, there was an alleged murder of Joseph Agabaidu, a 500-level student Applied Geology recently at Yelwa Kagadama which made some miscreants embark on protest around Yelwa Campus and consequently disrupting the peace.

“In view of the above, the Vice Chancellor, on behalf of the Senate, has approved the closure of the university for an initial period of one week with effect from Monday, December 4 to Sunday, December 10, 2023.

“Therefore, I am directed to request all undergraduate students on both campuses to vacate the university premises with immediate effect as failure to comply may lead to appropriate sanction by the constituted authority.

“By a copy of this notice, the Dean, Students Affairs Division and Chief Security Officer are requested to ensure strict compliance of the directive.”

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