Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
The students’ union of the University of Jos has condemned the recent hike in school fees approved by the management from N27,000 to N45,000, saying that the institution did not carry its members along in the development.
It therefore directed all students not to pay the new fees until they hear from the union on whether or not to do so.
The leaders of the students, who embarked on a peaceful protest to the secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Jos, regretted that the same President Muhammadu Buhari’s government that promised free education and better life for the Nigerian masses has turned around to inflict pains on them by the new exorbitant fee increment.
While admonishing the students to be peaceful in the face of the obvious provocation, the Students’ Union President, Sidney Daman said “Nigerian students believe that this government of ‘change’ is responsible and cannot contribute to the hardship the average Nigerian students are currently facing.”
Daman recalled that in the 2015/16 academic session students of the university encountered various payment problems that made some students pay the same fees twice with several consequences on the part of those that could not cope with the second payment.
He added that students were just trying to get over the pains of having to pay twice for the same school fee when the institution came up with the current increment.
While calling on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) to intervene, the students decried their non-involvement in the whole process, adding that at the stakeholders’ meeting to discuss the new school fees, the students representatives were not allowed to talk.
The students alleged that only a handful of parents, who could not counter the management’s position, were invited to the purported meeting, adding that such cannot be taken to be a fair representation of the student’s parents.
In a reaction, the university denied any wrong or illegal action, saying that it only implemented the new approved harmonised federal government charges for all undergraduates in Nigerian federal universities.
In a statement, the Registrar of the institution, Mr. Monday Danjem, said the university is only doing the needful by complying with a clearly spelt out and properly conveyed directive of the federal government. But even in doing so, the university still felt obliged to consult with stakeholders before the decision was finally taken.
The statement read in parts: “The University of Jos management was in receipt of a letter from the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) dated January 22, 2015 conveying the newly approved schedule of harmonised school charges to senate/governing councils of all federal universities for immediate implementation.
“The directive contained in the letter followed a recommendation made by a committee constituted by the minister of education comprising the NUC Executive Secretary; Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors; Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellor, Bayero University, Kano that was mandated to review and harmonise the schedule of miscellaneous charges for undergraduate students in all federal universities. The senate and governing councils of all federal universities were therefore directed to ensure the implementation of the new school charges structure.
“Hence, for the purpose of clarity, management met on several occasions with officials of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) of the institution to present to them the university’s predicament and seek for their understanding.
“It was this spirit of openness and transparency that management also convened a stakeholders meeting with parents and guardians of the students during which it was collectively resolved that the university should commence the implementation of the new school charges structure of N45,000.”