On July 21, 2023, the University of Lagos (UNILAG) put out an important notice to all its students that their school fees would be increased by 400% from September 1st. Neither the new undergraduates nor returning students were exempt.
On September 6, students gathered to march and raise their voices in solidarity against the inconsiderate school fees hike. The UNILAG management responded by calling the police on its students. Let’s get into everything there is to know about these events.
New school fees
New students whose course of study requires laboratory or studio use now pay ₦140,250. Others pay ₦100,750, while college of medicine undergraduates had their fees increased to ₦190,250 from an average of ₦20k per year. Why the sudden increase despite the current economic hardship?
The Student Loans Act
On August 8, Mr. Andrew Adejo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education said that the fees hike isn’t motivated by the Student Loans Act proposed by the new Tinubu government. According to him, the new fees will cover the cost of accommodation and utilities, to ensure the promise of premium quality of education.
Ministry of Education approval
Mr. Adejo also revealed that the Ministry of Education gave UNILAG the go-ahead but has stopped giving other universities. But why can’t there be a uniform decision for everyone?
The VC said it’s the national price
Although the government at the top has said they’ve stopped other universities from increasing their school fees, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, the Vice Chancellor of UNILAG, said the fees have been set all around Nigeria and can’t be adjusted for anyone.
UNILAG staff privilege
Staff members’ children can still pay their fees in installments at least a month before final exams. They also get accommodation spaces in the hostels reserved for them. The staff members themselves may begin remote work soon to cut down on their transportation expenses. These compromises make it easier for some people, while the majority bear the brunt of hardship.
After the university’s management failed on their promise to the student leaders on August 2 that they’ll reduce the school fees , the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) announced their plans to protest against the hike. NANS also sent a warning to the Department of State Services (DSS) not to stop them from protesting as it’s their universal human right.
But on the morning of September 6, 2023, policemen shot rubber bullets and teargas to scatter the agitated students’ peaceful protest.
Students in lock-up
Some of the protesting students have been arrested. While most are yet to be identified by names, the NANS PRO, Giwa Temitope, alongside another student named Femi Adeyeye are among them. The students’ representative council of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) wrote a solidarity letter, calling for the release of their arrested comrades and other students.
Burning Ram is coming.