The National Association of Nigerian Students has expressed strong opposition to the alleged plans by federal universities in the country to increase by 200 per cent their tuitions and various other charges from this year.
NANS urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to “as a matter of urgency, intervene and stop the plan before it degenerates to crisis in the nation’s ivory towers”.
The NANS is the umbrella body of all Nigerian students in tertiary schools both at home and in the diaspora and it has about 50 million members globally.
The reported of a plan to hike fees of federal universities over rising inflation
A survey across some federal universities in the country also revealed that some universities had announced a hike in fees.
But NANS in a letter addressed to Buhari, dated January 4, 2023, and titled, ‘Request for fatherly intervention on school fees increment by tertiary institutions in Nigeria’, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent on Friday, was signed by the National President and the Senate President of the association, Usman Umar Barambu and Attah Unalue Felix respectively.
The students also copied for their notice the Minister of Education, the Executive Secretary of NUC, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser and the Inspector General of Police, among others.
Part of the statement read, “The VCs, by such move, are not only inconsiderate but also insensitive to the plights of their students. President Buhari should quickly intervene and stop the move as the majority of students, who attend public universities, particularly in Nigeria, are from financially disadvantaged homes and will not be able to afford such an increment.
“The vice chancellors and lecturers of various universities had already devised a special way of mitigating the effects of the planned increment by granting their own children in those schools significant rebate while leaving others from poor homes to their fate.”
Meanwhile, NANS has called on the Federal Government to increase the funding of the education sector through other means instead of depending on fee hike.
The association said the government had the constitutional responsibility to provide affordable education for its citizens, and as such must adopt other sources to fund the sector
Recall that some federal universities recently commenced the increase of registration and tuition fees for students in a bid to improve the funding of the institutions.
NANS National Public Relations Officer, Temitope Giwa, in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, said the decision to increase fees was a burden to students and their parents.
He described as worrisome government’s inability to provide adequate funding for tertiary institutions, adding that workers’ salaries should be increased for parents considering the current economic realities.
He disclosed that a committee had been set up in all geo-political zones to interface with school management for possible reduction in the fees.
He said, “What we heard is that the government has asked the vice chancellors to increase the school fees and we are not happy with that.
“We have set up a committee in all geo-political zones for us to meet with the management of any institution that has increased its fees so that they can stop such increase.
“But if they must increase, it should not be more than 10 per cent increase. Not this one that we hear that some schools are increasing over 100 per cent. It’s too much. As we all know, there is no money.
“When there was no increment of fee, some students were struggling to pay while some others couldn’t pay. Some go extra miles to get money for their fees. Some engage in cyber crime, prostitution, kidnapping and other social vices just to pay fees.
“Now that you are increasing the fees, what are you telling them to do? Remember you are increasing the fees, but the salaries of the parents remain the same. How do you expect the students to survive?”