NANS gives govt seven-day ultimatum to reverse fee hike in higher institutions

National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Zone D, Southwest, yesterday, warned federal and state governments to rescind the decision on fee hike in higher institutions or it would ground economic activities in the region.


Addressing a press conference at Eleyele Road, at the Sango area, Ibadan, the Zone D Coordinator, John Alao, said the student body was giving government a seven-day ultimatum that would elapse on August 1, 2023, The Guardian reports.


He said news of hike in tuition fees at some schools came as a shock, considering the current high cost of petrol, fall in value of the naira, and subsequent increase in prices of commodities.


Alao said: “In the light of the above, the South West Zone of NANS, hereby, makes the following demands: “One, all plans to increase fees should be halted immediately and those who have done so should revert to the status quo. Two, we demand that the minimum wage should be increased by over 200 per cent. Three, education should take 26 per cent of the budget as recommended by UNESCO.


“Four, before conceiving the idea of increment in tuition, school managements should tackle deficits in infrastructure, research, and retrain staff. Five, Nigerian students will not bear the brunt of the failure of the ruling elites.”


This came as the Presidency debunked reports making the rounds that the Federal Government had increased tuition fees in federal universities.


In a statement issued yesterday by Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, the Presidency said federal universities remain tuition-free, adding that President Tinubu’s administration is working on other measures to make education reachable to all, besides the Students’ Loans Scheme.


He said: “It was widely reported earlier this week across some news media outlets that the Federal Government had increased tuition fees in federal universities in the country.


“These reports are inaccurate and not correct. We are aware that some universities have in recent weeks announced an increase in the amount payable by students on sundry charges.”


However, the fact remains, and we have confirmed that these are discretionary charges by each university for hostel accommodation, registration, laboratory and other charges. They are not tuition fees.


“Authorities of these universities even made this fact clear enough in explaining the rationale behind these new fees. For the avoidance of doubts, federal universities in Nigeria remain tuition-free.”


The statement added: “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu remains committed to his promise of ensuring that every Nigerian, regardless of the economic situation of their parents, has access to quality tertiary education.


“In addition to the Students’ Loans Scheme, under the Student Loans Bill signed into law by President Tinubu last month, which will go into implementation ahead of the next academic session in September, the Federal Government will also strengthen other mechanisms to support indigent students.


“Parts of the government’s plans to make sure all diligent students complete their education on time, notwithstanding their parents’ financial situation, include work-study, merit-based scholarships and grants.”


Meanwhile, the Provost, College of Medicine University of Lagos, Prof. David Adewale Oke, has stressed the need for the Tinubu administration to make universities self-autonomous.


Speaking at the commissioning of the renovated main auditorium of Tafawa Balewa Plaza of the College by 77/82 set members, yesterday, he said: “Currently, it’s like the university system runs like a civil service. It has never been like that. There is a need to govern ourselves.”


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