By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
National Association of University Students, Osun State Campus monitoring committee (NAUS), has called on President Bola Tinubu to take measures that can address the astronomical increase of school fees in various tertiary institutions across the country
The student body lamented the recent increase of school fees of federal universities, especially Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, by the school management, adding such will throw many Nigerian youths out of school
Addressing journalists at a press conference held at the Correspondent Chapel in Osogbo on Monday, the president of NAUS, Comrade Popoola Olayinka, the Secretary, Comrade Akinleye Okiji and other executives, argued that education is a right of every citizens and never a privilege.
According to them, a serious government must prioritise education and make it affordable for citizenry.
Olayinka who said the association in conjunction with OAU student union has given the management of the institution a 5 M-day ultimatum to reverse the fees increase, hinted that failure to yield to their demands will consequently lead to mass action .
He said they have called for the closure of student payment portal and total suspension of any payment into the accounts of OAU until all demands are met .
While condemning communal clashes in Osun communities and recent killings in Ilesha , the students urged security agencies to rise up to the occasion and ensure those behind ugly incident are brought to justice, just as they called on the state government to address and resolved all communal crises among Osun communities .
On the subsidy palliative, they urged the federal and state governments to further roll out measure to cushion the effect as many Nigerians are facing serious challenges especially food and transportation.
The students’ leaders who were of the opinion that government cannot single-handedly fund education, suggested many ways in which schools should source funds to assist in funding education in Nigeria.
Some of the ways according to the students are Agriculture, hydro electricity supply to university communities among others.
OAU Students Vows to Shut down schools over hike price of school fees
Meanwhile, the Student Union of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife has also warned the authority of the University to as a matter of urgency reverse the recent increments in the tuition fees or ready to face a massive students protest across the State .
To this end, the Student union has given the school management five days ultimatum to reverse to the status quo, threatening to shutdown the institution, if the authorities do otherwise.
In a World press conference addressed by the student union president, Comrade Abbas Akinremi Ojo with other student body executives held at Ken Saro Wiwa Building of the institution, they m hinted that they have held a meeting with the school management and demanded outright reversal to old regime of school fees.
According to Ojo, the significance of student unions worldwide, is that they are robust platforms that bring all students together to advocate for their rights.
“We shall continue to stand united and make a difference together,” he said. “Our last congress of Great Ife held on the 14th of September ended with the following resolutions were agreed:
“That the management should make it a duty to reverse the increment in school fees
“All financial institutions, remita, especially should ignore and suspend any payment from OAU pending the time the Union will write to them, otherwise, their branches in Ife and OAU campus will be shut down.
” The congress agreed that the university management be given a 5-day ultimatum to engage the Leadership of the Union. Afterward, we hit the street and shut down the activities on campus and the entire country if the ultimatum isn’t met.
“As a student body, we’ve played our part in these resolutions by holding a Twitter space with over 4000 students in attendance who all agreed that the fee hike is way out of pocket.
‘We’ve also written to all respective banks to halt the acceptance of fee payments from any student until a better resolution has been achieved. As much as we don’t want to, we are currently running out of options and might have to shut down all activities on campus and progressively on all campuses throughout the country if the school authorities remain adamant
“While the school authority’s go-to excuse for School fee hike is that the federal government has stopped funding OAU, the recent release dated 15th of September listed OAU as number 9 of the top 10 funded universities with a budget allocation of N13.48.
” We are here to address the pressing issue of sudden fee hikes and the alarming state of education funding in Nigeria. Education is the cornerstone of development and progress for any nation. So, it’s sad that in a country as great as ours, education is becoming a choice only the rich can make.”
The Student Union president said the current situation in Nigeria paints a grim picture, with chronically low funding for education having severe repercussions on our society.
According to him inadequate funding has limited access to quality education, hinder academic resources, and already created many financial burdens for students and their families.
“As education plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of our youth, the lack of resources and investment in this sector profoundly impacts their overall development. From dilapidated school infrastructures to insufficient teaching materials and outdated curriculums, students are deprived of a quality education that could empower them to reach their full potential.
Comrade ojo disclosed that With rising School fees and limited access to scholarships, families must bear the financial strain of ensuring their children receive a decent education.
“This perpetuates a cycle of inequality, as those from less privileged backgrounds are further marginalized, hindering their chances of upward social mobility. We must address this issue and alleviate the burden on these families,
“It’s bothersome that students of a federal university like OAU pay a fee over a hundred thousand naira and that fresh students pay almost double-in a school where many students have single parents that are government workers earning a minimum wage of thirty thousand naira.
While saying all hope is not lost as there are viable solutions to tackle this problem, he called on the federal government to take decisive action to address the situation.
He said the government should realise that education and as such should be treated as a fundamental right rather than a privilege it entails
Comrade Ojo suggested adequate increase in the budget allocation for education and ensured that schools are well- equipped, staffed, and capable of providing quality education.