Students at the Ambrose Alli University, (AAU), Ekpoma are understandably dissatisfied with the university’s management decision to increase school fees which comes in the midst of a faltering economy. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) staged a sit-in to protest the steep price hike (up to 300%) in tuition. While at the Edo State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, the national student group called for an immediate repeal of the over 300 percent increase in tuition.
They also demanded the sack of the Special Intervention Team (SIT), whose tenure is said to expire on the 24th of June, 2023 as well as the sack of the Acting Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. Sonnie Adagbonyin. Speaking, NANS, Vice President, Intercampus Affairs, Comrade Vanessa Egheahie, said the Edo State Government should revert to the old fees paid by the students before the new increment or NANS would move its headquarters to AAU to enforce the reversal as students from poor parents cannot afford to go to school with the new charges.
Fees had been raised by more than 360 percent.
According to Egheahie, the new fees make AAU the most expensive public institution in Nigeria, with the cost of a legal degree rising to N741,500 from N185k, and the cost of a medical degree rising to N638,000 from N216k. She complained that tuition had been raised by more than 360 percent due to actions taken by the Edo State Government and the AAU Special Intervention Team (SIT). To that she said, “those who have the right to increase fees are those who contributed to improve the school’s infrastructure”.
It’s an aberration that the state government has raised these costs, making higher education out of reach for low-income families, says Egheahie. This suggests that a salary earner in Edo State with a single child who wants them to study law would have to work for 23 months before he could afford the 100 level school costs associated with sending his child to university. Considering that public employees make up 78% of Edo’s population, this is somewhat improbable.
Special Intervention Team (SIT) is demanded to be fired.
With such high tuition fees, children of merchants, government workers, and other low-income earners will have a hard time to afford it. The Edo state government is sending us the message, through this policy, that they value our education at a low level and could care less if we wind up on the streets. She added that the SIT, whose term ends on June 24th, 2023, should be fired because it has not fulfilled its duty of managing and assisting the institution in sorting for funds.
She stated that the university’s Special Intervention Team (SIT) had failed in its duty, while the acting Vice Chancellor had threatened students by telling them to look elsewhere for lower tuition if they couldn’t afford it. Since the national student body has called for the dismissal of the SIT and the Acting Vice Chancellor, she urged that no tuition or fees be paid by parents on Monday. The decision to raise tuition has not gone down well with students, who are already protesting in large numbers.
Low-class students who are self-funding should be taken into account.
Also, Comrade Isaac Ogieva, the Secretary General of NANS Zone B, stated that when the cost was increased, they approached the school administration and asked that the low-class students who are self-funding their education be taken into account. He elaborated that many students are self-sponsoring their education and cannot pay these excessive prices. He continued by saying that the price tag is unreasonably expensive in a nation like Nigeria, where securing employment after graduation is far from assured.