Opposition Slams Ikpeazu over Pandemic Prevention Fee in ABSU

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Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State at the weekend slammed the state Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, over the way he handled the imposition of pandemic prevention levy announced by the state university, saying the levy was an insensitive anti-people policy.

The management of the Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu, stirred the hornet’s nest following a compulsory N15,000 pandemic prevention fee it imposed on students with the full backing of state government.

But in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Benedict Godson, the state APC roundly blamed the governor and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP-controlled government for approving the “most ludicrous levy.”

In condemning the pandemic levy, the main opposition party in the state said it received the news “with deep regret and shock,” describing it as “the most absurd academic decision and another exhibition of administrative rascality and recklessness.

“It’s so dreadful and horrifying that while other state governments are busy cutting tuition fees and subsidizing other charges for students, Abia State is busy planning and executing disheartening extortionist policies against its own students.”

APC further knocked Ikpeazu for allegedly defending the ‘obnoxious’ levy in a tweet when he should have promptly intervened and scrapped it to save the already financially-traumatised parents from an unnecessary additional burden

The governor had during a town hall meeting with ABSU management and students last Wednesday approved the levy which he slashed down from the initial N25,000 to N15,000.

But in the wake of criticisms generated by the levy, he later made a U-turn and abolished it, saying the government would instead pay N30,000 bursary to support students who are Abia State indigenes and their parents.

However, APC countered that it was an afterthought, and doubted the governor’s sincerity, hinting that the support fund could be a Greek gift which parents would be made to pay back through a hike in school fees.

The party warned Abia people not be fooled by Ikpeazu’s attempt to redeem his image with the proposed N30,000 support for students. It noted that he had all along looked the other way while ABSU management churned out anti student, anti-parents, anti-family and anti-education fees and levies.

The state APC, therefore, warned both the governor and ABSU management against converting the proposed N30,000 support fund meant for the students to any form of levy or dubious fee increment.