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UNILAG: Student group protests fee hike

A student group, Students Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike, has declared a protest against the increment in fees by the management of the University of Lagos.

The spokespersons for the group, Tosin Solanke and Abayomi Godwin, in a statement made available to The PUNCH on Saturday, said it had “become imperative to inform the public of a mass protest against fee hike scheduled to start on September 6, 2023, as students, parents, civil society organisation, informal workers, are set to hit the streets to say enough of untold hardship meted out to us.”

On July 21, 2023, the management of UNILAG announced an increment in the tuition fees of the undergraduate students of the institution, citing “prevailing economic realities.”

The UNILAG management increased the fees from N19,000 to N190,250 for students studying medicine while for courses that require laboratory and studio, the students were to pay N140,250.

The student group, a handful of its members, had on Thursday gathered at Arise TV Complex after marching around the Ikoyi and Falomo areas of Lagos to sensitise passersby to the trend of fee hike in some varsities. They noted that the UNILAG management had failed to call the student delegation for a further meeting.

They said since the wake of the announced fee hike by the UNILAG management, “we in the Students Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike engaged in a series of actions to enlighten members of the public of the dangers that this anti-poor policy portends for the generality of the people.

“Our argument remains that the responsibility of funding public education can not be shifted to poor students and their parents even in a draining economy such as this. We also maintain that the decision taken by the UNILAG management, supervised by their employers, remains authoritarian and economically inconsiderate.”

“It is also important to state that after engaging in a discussion, and for over four weeks, the UNILAG Management has failed in its promise to reconvene the meeting with the student delegation.”

Contacted, the spokesperson for UNILAG, Adejoke Alaga-Ibraheem, who asked our correspondent to send her a text message, was yet to respond to the message sent as of press time.

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Speaking further, the student group said, “Our lecturers, some of whom are postgraduate students, including those who are sponsors (parents/guardians) to many students, would not be able to afford these fees.”

“The protests will be comprehensive and total until fees are reverted.”

Contacted over the planned protest, the National Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Giwa Temitope, said the move was a nice development.

Giwa said, “It’s a nice one coming from them because the fees are unbearable at this time when there is hardship in the country.”

He lamented that some parents had up to two or three students in schools and it would be difficult for them to cater for such wards.

On July 31, 2023, President Bola Tinubu directed the authorities in all federal institutions of higher learning to avoid arbitrary increases in sundry fees payable and where possible defer further increases so that parents and students would not face too much difficulty.

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