Fee hike: NANS to storm UNILAG again, issues 48 hours ultimatum

The National Association of Nigerian Students has issued a 48-hour ultimatum for the management of the University of Lagos to reverse fee hike in the institution.

NANS executive members, led by the  National Public Relations Officer, Giwa Temitope; National Vice President, External, Akinteye Afeez; and the Deputy Senate President, Ekundina Elvis among others, on Thursday, condemned the arrest of students who were protesting fee hike at UNILAG Junction on Wednesday.

The Press reports that some of the protesters, Adeyeye Olorunfemi, Philip Olatinwo, Aduwo Ayodele and the Giwa, among others, were later released by the police in the evening. The security agencies had fired teargas to disperse the students at UNILAG Junction during the protest.

The Lagos State Police Command had on Tuesday said the students should inform the police of its protest plans for adequate measures to be provided but the students kicked against this, saying protest is a fundamental human right.

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Addressing a press conference at the International Press Centre, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos, the student leaders said, “We want to state that the repression that was meted out during our protest on Wednesday against the astronomical increase in fees payable at the University of Lagos is condemnable.”

According to NANS, the decision to protest the fee hike was reached after the management of the University of Lagos allegedly failed to meet the terms of the agreement met with the students on August 2, 2023 “where the Vice Chancellor assured us that the fee would be reversed and reviewed through a joint body of students and management staff of the university.”

When contacted for a reaction on Wednesday, the Head, Communications Unit, UNILAG, Adejoke Alaga-Ibraheem, said the management was not against lawful protest. She directed the students to channel their grievances to the right channel.

“The university is not against lawful and peaceful protests by our students. Our students, who are currently on vacation, are enjoined to channel all grievances through the Dean, Student Affairs, who is officially empowered to interact with students,” Alaga-Ibraheem said in a chat with our correspondent.

But insisting that the student body would storm UNILAG again, the NANS leaders said, “The management of the University of Lagos is hereby given 48 hours ultimatum to immediately reverse the fees as agreed upon and refund students that must have paid the astronomical fees.”

“Consequently, all students’ union presidents, NANS leadership, and the Nigerian students are hereby put on notice to begin mobilisations. We shall be hitting the UNILAG gates again. The country is bleeding economically and education cannot be traded for illiteracy. It is our fundamental human right to be educated. The police authority must henceforth stop the repression of students and people’s protests. We warn all higher education and Unity Schools never to add a kobo to the fees,” they added.

The UNILAG management in July 2023 increased fees from N19,000 to N190,250 for students studying medicine while for courses that require laboratory and studio, the students were to pay N140,250. The management cited “prevailing economic realities” as reasons.

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