The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), has rejected the increment in fees announced by some schools and tertiary institutions, saying it is not in reality with the economic situation in the country.
The NANS Vice President, External Affairs, Comrade Akinteye Afeez revealed this in a press statement, calling for declaration of a state of emergency in the education sector, given the decadent facilities and the need to make education affordable and accessible to citizens.
Comrade Afeez said, if the government fails to declare a state of emergency, the association would do it on its behalf.
“Education has made it possible for the poor to meet up with the rich and change the class of his immediate and extended families by being able to afford what his family could not have been able to get for him. Stories like this may soon go into extinction because the present hike in school fees by almost every institution will not make education accessible for the poor and average Nigerians.
“Amidst escalating cost of living in the country as a result of the hike in fuel price and subsequent hike in the prices of goods and services, some educational institutions have announced significant increases in tuition and other fees, while others are planning to do so in order to cope with the effects of the removal of subsidy on petrol.
“Most recently, the management of the University of Lagos, Akoka, reportedly increased the fees for undergraduates in the institution. This is highly ridiculous and completely unacceptable. If any sector of government would need palliatives as it stands, it has to be the education sector and most especially the tertiary education”.
He added that, it was highly insensitive and demeaning for a higher institution to suddenly increase her fees from N19,000 to N190,250, saying the increment will put parents in severe burden and helplessness.
“Majority of these parents are of average and low classes in the society who are already battling with subsidy removal that did not come with any form of palliatives or salary increase for the civil servants and employees amongst them.
“The businessmen and women are also battling with the prices of goods and the decrease in patronage they experience on a daily basis. The cost of living on the other hand is biting hard with prices of foodstuff and rent going up by over a hundred percent. The situation is alarming.
“This is why we are appealing to the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Nigerian Educational System and call the stakeholders to look for a lasting solution that will help the common man to be able to afford these prestigious government-established institutions when their children are qualified.
“If they refuse to declare it, we may do so for them. It is a very easy task for us to accomplish. We have done so in the past and we can do it again,” Afeez noted.
The NANS Vice President, urged the management of UNILAG, as a matter of urgency, to revert the hike to the previous amounts.
“We hereby call on the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, to do the needful by ensuring that the increment vanishes by issuing a statement to that effect within the next 48 hours.
“We are Nigerian students and our leaders in all cadres owe us some sort of responsibility to keep us sane and safe by doing everything possible within the ambit of the law to allow us access to education.
“Education is our right and we must get it at all cost regardless of how selfish and self-centred our leaders are. This is also to send a note of warning to other tertiary institutions, who are already planning to increase their fees to further crush education in Nigeria, to think twice and source for funds elsewhere to meet their needs.
“Otherwise, they should be ready to receive us as unusual guests who will come and reside in their abode and offices until they yield to our demands,” Afeez stated.