The University of Lagos(UNILAG) has been asked to reverse the implementation of the new hike in tuition fees of the students.
The development is contained in a resolution reached during a meeting between the Management and the student delegation on Wednesday.
It also told to set up a joint committee comprising representatives of management, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Students, and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
The committee according to the resolution made available to Journalists on Thursday, by Students’ Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike (SSGAFH), “shall examine University financing, the workability of the management’s palliative program, the number of students it can cover, and forthwith recommend to University administration through its report if an increment is necessary, and to what extent.”
Although the University Management through Vice Chancellor Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, had disclosed reasons why the school fees increment at this point is inevitable, the delegation, it maintained that the fees should be reversed to status quo pending the report of the joint committee.
The meeting, which started around 3:03 pm according to the communique, had in attendance the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, who led the management team which had the Deputy VC (Management), University Registrar, University PRO, Dean of Student Affairs, Chief Security Officer, and other members of the University Security Unit.
“On the side of the students’ delegation are the NANS PRO, Comrade Giwa Yisa Temitope, Comr. Kazeem Olalekan (former NANS Zone D PRO), Juwon Sanyaolu (Students’ Solidarity Group- rep), Duro Rike (Students’ Solidarity Group-rep), Management Science Students’ Association President-elect, Isaac Toriola (UNILAG), Faculty of Education Students’ Association President-elect, Ibrahim Balogun (UNILAG), Phillip Olatinwo (UNILAG), Modupe (UNILAG), Adewale Fashola (UNILAG), Oluwakemi Oyelumade (UNILAG).”
During the interaction, the delegation demanded both the immediate reinstatement of the Students’ Union and a comprehensive and complete reversal of the fee increment. Madam VC however proposed that the meeting should instead concentrate on the fee hike since that is the most urgent problem.
The VC while speaking on the reasons for the increment in school fees, lamented the lack of funding by the Federal Government and other sundry issues.
She explained to the delegation that the University’s expenses cannot be covered by the N21,000 students paid. Lamenting the economic crunch facing the university, added that exam costs had quadrupled. According to her, the University spends roughly N2 billion annually on electricity bills and N10 million monthly to give students access to the internet on campus.
“She claimed that if the institution didn’t subsidise the costs from its IGR (Internally Generated Revenue), no student would pay less than N300,000. She claimed that the University pays an electrical cost of N80,000,000 per month when students are off campus but between N160,000,000 and N180,000,000 when students are on campus. She added that if the fee is reversed, the University will close down.”
Although she claimed that student leaders from faculty and residence halls were consulted about the fee hike, which they were all in favour of, the Vice Chancellor stated that before the fee increase went into effect, the institution engaged with parents and other University stakeholders.
However, the delegation faulted her approach, adding that students and parents, including members of staff, shouldn’t be forced to bear the heavy cost of the Federal Government’s irresponsibility to fund education, coupled with other hardships they have to face daily- a serious financial strain since the removal of petrol subsidy.