The Lagos State University Students Union (LASUSU) and the Joint Action Front (JAF) on Thursday staged a peaceful march in Lagos to protest against the Lagos State University (LASU) fee hike.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that scores of LASU students protested at Onipanu through LASU, Anthony campus to the Gani Fawehinmi freedom park, Ojota, Lagos.
They carried placards with inscriptions: “Fee hike, the root cause of crisis in LASU’’, “We demand immediate reversal of increased fees,’’ and “LASU is for all and not for the rich only.’’
LASUSU President, Nurudeen Yusuf said that the protest was staged as a result of a directive received from the university authority that all students should pay their fees before May 30.
“The Management released a memo on May 21, directing all students to pay the outrageous fee for the 2013/2014 academic session, on or before May 30,” he said.
Yusuf said that the authorities’ decision was against the position of the union to the state government for a reduction of the increased fee.
According to Yusuf, the students in its congress had unanimously agreed not to pay the increased fee for the session until government approved and implemented the reduction, as proposed by the union.
“We proposed N46,500 for returning students and N65, 500 for fresh students as the new tuition fee, as against N198,000 and N350,000 for medical students,
“As directed by Gov. Babatunde Fashola in a meeting on April 3, the union had submitted the proposal for the new tuition fee on April 24.
The student leader said since the union was still on the discussion table with the government, the students had agreed not to pay the fees until the reduction was made.
He said that the protest was to sensitise the public to the plight of LASU students and why the reduction must be implemented immediately.
“We will not pay the outrageous fee until the reduction is made.
“For a state that generates N77 billion a year and all LASU needs to sustain itself in a year is N10 billion, free tuition is even possible,’’ he said.
Yusuf added that a reduction in the fee would also encourage the striking lecturers to return to work, as this was one of the core reasons for the ASUU-LASU strike.
He noted that many Lagosians would also have access to education if the fee was reduced.
JAF Secretary, Mr Abiodun Aremu, said that the front was supporting the students in the struggle because education was a right and that adequate funding was not negotiable.
Aremu said there was no justification for the fee hike, especially in a state like Lagos, where there is an increase in the Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR).
He said that the protest was propelled by the refusal of the government to approve the proposed new tuition fee suggested by the LASUSU since the May Day protest.
According to Aremu, the state government had only been promising to slash the fees soon and the students cannot afford to pay such outrageous fee for the new session.
He assured the students that the struggle to make the state government reverse the fees would be fought to a logical conclusion. (NAN)