Thousands of students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State on Tuesday protested the increase in the institution’s tuition.
Led by their union’s President-Elect, Mr. Ibikunle Isaac, the protesters said the hike was unacceptable.
The aggrieved students were carrying placards with inscriptions like: “OAU STUDENTS SAY NO TO TUITION INCREMENT,” “OMOLE, BRING DOWN OUR SCHOOL FEE,” “OMOLE, YOU ENJOYED FREE EDUCATION, WHY KILLING IT?,” “THE POOR DESERVES QUALITY EDUCATION TOO” among others.
Some Post-Graduate students of the university also participated in the protest which began as early as 8.00 am. The students had converged at the school’s Anglomoz car park and later marched out of the campus to Oduduwa University, Ile-Ife, along Lagos-Ibadan expressway where they barricaded the roads.
Following the protest, there was a traffic gridlock as many motorists found it difficult to get into Ife township.
The students also were distributing handbills to sensitize the travellers on the road about their plight.
When the Student Union President-Elect was addressing his colleagues, he dropped the hints that the university management had reduced the tuition fee by #17,000 after holding meeting with the students representatives. He said the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Omole had promised to reverse the increase in tuition fee at the meeting which was held at the school Senate Building.
According to him: “The management had increased increased the tuition from #17,000 to about #100,000 apart from #20,000 acceptance and accommodation fees. We have exhausted all peaceful means, we have consulted union bodies like ASUU, NASU and even the alumni body of the institution to help us appeal to the management to reverse the fee but no avail.
“The Vice Chancellor had told us (the leadership of the Student Union) during a meeting yesterday that it was the federal government that directed them to increase the school and that the federal government cannot continue funding education, that is why we barricaded the federal government roads here in Ife. We are not here alone, we are also here with Post Graduate students because it affected them also.
The police found it very difficult to make the students allow free flow of traffic as the students were resolute to make sure no vehicle passed through the barricade.
Candidates writing the Computer Based Test Mode of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) on campus were almost affected by the protest as the students prevented commercial bus drivers and motorcyclists from conveying passengers to the venue of the examination.
The management of the institution last week increased the acceptance fee payable by the newly admitted students from #2,000 to #20,000 in 2010 thus resulting to protest that led to the closing down of the institution for three months.
The newly admitted students of the institution would be paying #74, 000 as against #17,000 excluding the acceptance fee of #20, 000 while the returning students would be paying around #50,000 as against #7,000. (The Nation)