Students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, yesterday took their protest over the hike in the tuition fee to Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
This was as the state gubernatorial candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker representing Ogbomoso North/South/Oriire Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Segun Ogunwuyi described the increment as “anti-people, inconsiderate and an attempt to deprive indigent students of a humble background of their right to quality education”. The two men made the remarks in separate interviews in Ibadan.
This came on heels of condemnation of the increment of N65,000 to N200,000 and N250,000 by the students, parents, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other stakeholders.
During their protest in Ibadan, the students of the Oyo/Osun states-jointly-owned institution described the increment as unacceptable.
The students under the umbrella of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) marched through major roads in Ibadan metropolis including Mokola, UCH Road and converged on the Agodi Government Secretariat Gate to protest the hike.
The NANS Zone D Coordinator, Morounkola Teslim Abiola, said: “LAUTECH students received a sad circular from the university management announcing an outrageous increase of their tuition fees. This increase is quite abnormal and unfortunate. NANS will not take this and we are showing our resistance to this.”
The protesters’ demands include “immediate reopening of all state-owned tertiary institutions; full subventions to all state-owned institutions; full payment of arrears and salaries of staff of all workers in these institutions; 100 percent reduction of tuition fees in LAUTECH and rejection of half salaries to the staff of the institutions.
“If these demands are not met, Oyo students will not leave the streets as we will cry to the whole world how inhumane, unjust and cruel Oyo government has been treating us and education in the state.”
Reacting to the protest, Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Education, Dr. Bisi Akin-Alabi, said she had been trying to talk to the students to select representatives to meet with the governor. While calling on them to remain calm, Akin- Alabi said: “government would work on their demands”.
On his part, Lanlehin described the increment as “a direct assault on public education by the governments of Oyo and Osun states”.
He said: “The development, coming on the heels of the institution’s incapacity to defray almost a year’s salaries and promotion arrears, resulting in several closures is a further confirmation of the neglect and apathy continuously being showed the institution by the owner states.”
Similarly, Ogunwuyi regretted that many Nigerians have had to contend with harsh economic condition foisted on them by the government at the center. He said: “Turning around to further complicate their problems would be most unacceptable.”