Nigeria: Fee Hike – After Unilag Budged, NANS Pledges to Engage Other Universities

The intervention of the NANS President, Mr Barambu, who met with the university leadership on Thursday has, however, led to a reduction in the fees for UNILAG students.

The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has said it is deploying an alternative dispute resolution method in engaging Nigerian public universities that have recently increased sundry fees payable by students.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported the trend of fee-hike announcements by the public universities, with the latest being the Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Ile-fe, Osun State.

Though the Nigerian government insists the institutions remain tuition-free, the universities have increased sundry fees astronomically, sparking outrage among student bodies, and leading to protests across campuses.

OAU’s ultimatum

At OAU, the Joint Campus Council (JCC) of NANS, Osun State axis has issued university management with a five-day ultimatum to reverse the hike.

NANS JCC said it is committed to the students’ welfare and therefore, “demanded a complete reversal of the increase,” noting that the students are already facing economic hardships due to the removal of fuel subsidy, high inflation, among other factors.

“In line with the resolutions of the Great Ife students, the leadership of NANS JCC Osun issues a five-day ultimatum to reverse these fees or face extensive and unrelenting protests,” reads a statement signed by the NANS JCC chairman and general secretary, Ogungbe Adedamola and Afolabi Faruq, respectively.

“If our demands are not met within this timeframe, we will engage in continuous protests and barricade all federal roads in Ife.”

NANS’ intervention

However, following a successful meeting with the management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) that led to the reduction in the increased fees, NANS Vice President, National Affairs, Victor Ezenagu, said the student body has plans of engaging all other institutions that have increased fees in recent times.

Before the UNILAG intervention, he noted that the NANS President, Usman Barambu’s intervention at the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, led to a reduction in fees.

“Our aim is to get a reasonable reduction and fees that are fair to Nigerians that will not be too difficult for people to pay in Nigeria, that is the aim,” he said in a telephone interview on Friday.

“We’ve started with UNILAG. Not just UNILAG, at the Federal University, Dutse in Jigawa State, there was also a reduction courtesy of intervention and discussion between NANS President and the management. And such has been going on in so many schools.”

Mr Ezenagu said the students’ body has a list of schools it would be holding dialogues with.

He said NANS won’t hesitate to resort to confrontation should any school fail to address the issue.

He added that the students’ body would make sure it exhausts all options of dialogue.

He said: “Where we are going to have a problem is any school that fails to listen to our logical argument on how to go about the reduction. For now, we are following it step by step in ensuring that there’s a reduction across board.

“Before we bring something to the public, it is when we are unable to resolve it using the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) medium. That’s when we can now say we want to blow it up. But something we can resolve within, we don’t need to blow it up.

“Definitely any school that fails to heed to our consultation, and consolidation, we have no option than to apply the last C, which is confrontation.”

Fee hike and protest

On Tuesday, Students of the University of Jos (UNIJOS) assembled at the institution’s entrance gate to protest the hike in fees from about N45,000 to over N100,000 depending on students’ courses of study.

Students of UNILAG also protested twice within a week, insisting that the increments be reversed.

The intervention of the NANS President, Mr Barambu, who met with the university leadership on Thursday has, however, led to a reduction in the fees for UNILAG students.

Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe

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