UNIZIK Students take to the Streets over Hike in Fees

STUDENTS of Nnamdi Azikiwe University yesterday in Awka protested alleged hike in school fees by authorities of the institution.

They marched round the school with placards and later blocked a portion of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, thereby causing traffic gridlock in the area.

Although the Acting Head, Information and Public Relations of the university, Mrs. Chika Ene refuted the alleged increase in school fees for returning students for the 2020/2021 academic session, the protesting students insisted that it was true, adding that the management of the university connived with the Students Union Government, SUG, to impose the fees.

One of the protesters, a third year student said they decided to embark on the protest as they could not bear the hike any longer.

He said: “When they increased the fees to over N50, 000 last year, we were asked through the SUG executive to bear with the school as they promised that the management will revert to the initial fee of about N26,000 we were paying. But to our greatest surprise, instead of asking us to pay the old fees as promised, we saw additional amount to what we paid last year.

Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Peter Onyenweife, who also spoke assured the students that NANS would never be a party to any form of increase in fees.

“I am standing here as your representative and we can never be a party to any form of increment.  The students gave me their mandate in 2019 and I want to assure you that I won’t for any reason support anything that will hurt you,” he said.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Prof. Fredrick Odibo, who addressed the students on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, said the institution’s fees structure had been pulled down, adding that discussions with the Students Union Government were ongoing.

Odibo said: “We have heard your agitations, and they are in order. You have freedom of protest and that is why we are handling you as our children. We have pulled down the fees structure of the university, and we are discussing with the SUG.”

The Dean of Students Affairs, Professor Nonso Achebe also urged the students to suspend the protests, assuring them of a town hall meeting with the Vice Chancellor on return.

“You have registered your displeasure and please let us meet at the round table for negotiations. Let every frayed nerves be calmed so we do not spoil the good work we have started in this university,” Achebe said.


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