The students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State southwest Nigeria under the umbrella of the Students’ Union Government have insisted that the management of the institution should reverse its decision on the new hike fees introduced or civil action to resist such development would continue.
In a communique issued by the President of the SUG, Comrade Ibikunle Isaac. M. copy of which was made available to our correspondent, the aggrieved students affirmed that “we demand an immediate reversal of all increased fees to their former status quo”, stressing that “for upward funding of education, stop making poor parents pay for government failure”.
According to the communique, “recently, the OAU management increased the fees of fresh, current and post-graduate students. Under the current fee regime, fresh students are to pay an exorbitant fee between N84,790 and N98,790. This is a whopping increment of over 390 percent as the existing fee for fresh students stood between N17,200 and N22,200”.
It read further, “If allowed to stay, this increment will see a lot of our members drop out of school, while many children of the poor will be automatically denied university education because of their socio-economic status. Thus, the students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife reject totally the current, hope-shattering, astronomic fee regime.
“The Professor Bamitale Omole led management continued to threaten students’ union leaders that the increment is irreversible and that if students protest, the school will be shut down and the students’ union proscribed.
“In fact, the Vice-Chancellor emphasised that university education is not for the poor, but the children of kings and queens. While the students’ union has considered the arguments of the university for fee increment, we do not agree with the conclusions arrived at by the university administration. The management has hinged fee increment on government’s underfunding of education”.
The management of OAU maintained that there was no plan to reverse the new fees regime, disclosing that some students have commenced payment of the new rates.
Speaking through its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr Abiodun Olanrewaju, OAU stated that “first and foremost, there is no basis for total reversal of the fees. The students, the SUG claimed to be fighting for have started paying the new tuition fees.
“Some parents, even commended the OAU for facing social and economic realities in introducing the fees. We want to use this medium to appeal to our students to give peace a chance because the management would not be interested in any act that would prolong the academic calendar of the next session”.