OAU Releases Info Regarding On-Going Students Unrest, New Regime
The University Community will recall that Senate, at its meeting of May 6, 2014, approved for the consideration of Council, the new regime of charges for Fresh Students as stated below:
and a Development Levy of Twenty five thousand naira (N25,000.00), which is paid once and for all by Fresh Students throughout the duration of their studentship in the University.
On May 12, 2014, the University Management led by the Vice-Chancellor, honoured the request of the leadership-elect of the Student Union, viz: the Central Executive Council, Leadership of the Students’ Representative Council, Chairpersons of Halls of Residence as well as members of the Association of Campus Journalists for a meeting over the new regime of charges. At this meeting, the students first expressed that there should be no increment at all in charges but after many hours of discussion, agreed that there could be some increase.
Members of the University Community should note that for over ten (10) years (2004–2014), the students of Obafemi Awolowo University paid the charges as listed in the table below:
|Faculty/Programmes||Charges Per Session||Accommodation Per Session|
|Administration, Arts, Education, Social Sciences &Law||N5,300.00|
(five thousand three hundred naira only)
|N2,590.00 (two thousand five hundred and ninety naira only) (N90.00 – Accommodation Charges and N2,500.00 for Hall Maintenance)|
(seven thousand eight hundred naira only)
|N2,590 (two thousand five hundred and ninety naira only)|
|Agriculture, Environmental Design & Management & Technology||N10,300.00|
(Ten thousand three hundred naira only)
|N2,590 (two thousand five hundred and ninety naira only)|
|Medicine, Dentistry, Medical Rehabilitation and Nursing||N12,800.00|
(Twelve thousand eight hundred naira only)
|N2,590.00 (two thousand five hundred and ninety naira only)|
These charges, paid by students for over ten (10) years, were justifiably considered by Senate, at its meeting of May 6, 2014, as not only anachronistic, but totally out of sync with the economic realities of present-day Nigeria, especially for a 21st Century university that constantly endeavours to produce top-rated students that are trained to be employable in the intellectual market of the 21st Century. Furthermore, the new charges have become necessary in view of the high cost of running the University and to ensure that our students are provided qualitative and competitive education in an enabling academic environment, the need to have some resources to purchase chemicals, consumables, modern laboratory equipment, current books, periodicals and journals, the continuous provision of electricity, potable and clean water, faster Internet facilities of which Obafemi Awolowo University is the only university in Nigeria with cloud computing, i-Lab and telepresence facilities.
On May 14, 2014, the Senate’s recommendation was presented to the Chairman of Council, who after a study of the recommended charges, agreed to some deductions on the Development Levy and Laboratory charges on behalf of Council. This was in line with Regulation No 15j of Obafemi Awolowo University, which puts in the purview of Council, the responsibility to determine all fees in consultation with the Senate.
The figures arrived at after consultation with Council for Fresh Students are in the Table below, which includes a reduced Development Levy of Eighteen thousand naira (N18,000.00) only, that is paid once and for all by Fresh Students throughout the duration of their studentship in the University:
On May 16, 2014, the University Administration, led again by the Vice-Chancellor, met a second time with the Students’ Representatives, where it presented the Council’s reduction, but the students refused, stating that “the Fresh Students should pay only N20, 000.00.” flat for all courses.
On Monday, May 19, 2014, a third meeting, presided over by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), with the Students’ Representatives did not yield any positive response as they merely conceded that the highest charge for any fresh student in the University, according to them, should be N20, 000.00 regardless of the course.
The University Administration, after further consideration, resolved to upload the reduced charges as follows:
|LAW/ARTS/SOCIAL SCIENCES/ADMIN/EDU. ARTS||N43,700||Per Session|
|SCIENCE/EDM/EDUC. SCIENCE/TECH/AGRIC||N54,700||Per Session|
|MEDICINE/PHARMACY/HEALTH SCIENCES||N57,700||Per Session|
and a Development Levy of Eighteen thousand naira (N18,000.00), which is paid once and for all by fresh students throughout the duration of their studentship in the University.
It is important for the University Community to note that the reduction in the charges for Fresh Students has been granted on three occasions before the final upload.
On Tuesday and Thursday, 20th and 22nd, May, 2014, the students went on rampage, blocking the Ife/Ibadan/Akure Express Way, disturbing the peace of the public and causing general mayhem that even endangered their lives. After leaving the Express Way, they demonstrated round Ife city and ended in the Palace of the Ooni of Ife.
On Monday, May 26, 2014, the students, led by the President-elect, Isaac Ibikunle, a Part V Law student, went on Channels Television to give false information, distorted and odorized figures on the new regime of charges as well as putting the University in total disrepute, odium and opprobrium.
Following the increase in charges for Fresh Students, the University Senate, at its meeting of 28th May, 2014, also approved a new regime of charges for Returning Undergraduates as stated below:
|LAW/ARTS/SOCIAL SCIENCES/ADMIN/EDU. ARTS||N19,700||Per Session|
|SCIENCE/EDM/EDUC. SCIENCE/TECH/AGRIC||N30,700||Per Session|
|MEDICINE/PHARMACY/HEALTH SCIENCES||N33,700||Per Session|
On Thursday and Friday, 5th and 6th June, 2014, the University Administration, through the Division of Student Affairs, organized a two-day Leadership Retreat for the newly-elected Student Union Executive where there was further interaction with University officials viz: the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), the Registrar and the Acting Dean of Student Affairs.
The University Community may wish to know that over 97% of Fresh Students have paid the new charges, resumed on 1st June, 2014, had a peaceful and very successful Orientation programme from 2nd to 8thJune, 2014. The University Community should also note that the new Student Union officials were inaugurated on Monday, June 9, 2014 and Returning Undergraduates resumed on Sunday, June 15, 2014.
On the resumption of some of the Returning Undergraduates, an illegal Congress was held in the evening of that day, which subsequently, led to the disruption of normal activities on campus the following day, Monday, June 16, 2014 when workers were chased out of their offices with a threat to burn down the University Secretariat. Indeed, the University Secretariat was padlocked and attempts were made to forcefully enter into the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. Added to this, was the fact that the students again threatened to burn down the Computer Centre with a view to shut down the E-portal and prevent further payment by students. They, indeed, marched to the Computer Centre, INTECU and the Centre of Excellence for Software Engineering, padlocked the entrances and laid siege on the entire premises.
Apart from these meetings with the University Management, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council also granted audience to the Student Union President and his Executive and explained the rationale behind the increase in charges.
Before the new regime of charges was introduced a comparative analysis of charges paid in many Federal universities was made and Obafemi Awolowo University’s charges even with the new increase are still the lowest in any Federal university in Nigeria. This fact can be crosschecked.
The University Community may also want to note that, presently, thousands of Returning Undergraduates have paid and are still paying this new regime of charges.
To the chagrin and shock of the University Administration, on Tuesday, 17th June, 2014, the students again held another Congress despite the invitation from the University Management for a meeting. At the Congress, the students resolved not to henceforth honour any invitation from the University Management. They further resolved to continue their agitation and make their demonstrations more violent until the new regime of charges is totally reversed and the University’s Vice-Chancellor is forcefully brought down from his office to address the Students’ Congress.
The University Community should note that the University Management, in a way to resolve the issue, encouraged different stakeholders to further interact with the student leadership to no avail.
On Wednesday, 18th June, 2014, the students, led by the Student Union President, Isaac Ibikunle, and the Vice-President, Funmilola Oladejo (aka Olori) a Part IV Linguistics student, stormed the Secretariat with gas cylinders, cut off the iron bars leading to Floor ‘O’ with the hope of burning part of the Secretariat buildings and indeed, welded the gates of the Secretariat buildings thereby preventing workers from gaining entrance into the buildings. They also blocked the Main Gate to the University and blocked the access to the Staff Quarters on Road 7 for three consecutive days when they prevented movement of Staff School pupils, students of the Obafemi Awolowo University International School and workers of the University and the public at large.
Finally, in order to prevent a total and irreversible breakdown of law and order, molestation of workers and for the protection of life and property, the Senate of the University, at its sitting on 18th June, 2014, after deliberation, decided unanimously to close down the University indefinitely.
D. O. Awoyemi
Registrar and Secretary to Council