A major protest has been called by some University of Lagos (UNILAG) students in response to the administration’s increase in tuition costs.
The student, speaking on behalf of Students Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike, stated on Saturday that it was “imperative to inform the public of a mass protest against fee hike scheduled to start on September 6, 2023, as students, parents, civil society organisations, and informal workers, are set to hit the streets to say enough of untold hardship meted out to us.”
Tosin Solanke, the group’s spokeswoman, made this claim in a statement that was made accessible to news reporters.
The management of UNILAG announced an increase in the undergraduate students’ tuition rates on July 21, 2023, citing “prevailing economic realities.”
The UNILAG administration raised the tuition for students majoring in medicine from N19,000 to N190,250, while charging N140,250 for courses requiring laboratory and studio work.
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A small group of the student organisation marched through the Lagos neighbourhoods of Ikoyi and Falomo on Thursday before congregating outside the Arise TV Complex to inform onlookers about the trend of tuition increases in several universities. They pointed out that UNILAG management had not scheduled another meeting with the student delegation.
They said that after the UNILAG management announced the price increase, the Students Solidarity Group Against price Hike “engaged in a series of demonstrations to educate members of the public about the risks 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.”
Adejoke Alaga-Ibraheem, a UNILAG spokesperson who was reached, requested that our correspondent send her a text message; as of the time of publication, she had not replied to the message.
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.
President Bola Tinubu instructed officials in all federal institutions of higher learning to prevent arbitrary increases in sundry fees payable and, whenever possible, postpone future increases so that parents and students would not experience undue hardship on July 31, 2023.