Students of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, Ogun State, have trooped out in their numbers to kick against a newly introduced medical fee of N2,000 by the management of the university, chanting, “we say no to urgent 2k”.
The students, as a result of their agitation, boycotted the ongoing second semester examination on Friday, threatening to picket the university unless their demand is met.
Speaking to GCFRNG, the President of TASUED Students Union Government, Abdul-Azeez Soneye, explained that the N2,000 medical fee was introduced on the students portal, all of a sudden.
Soneye insisted that the protest would continue if the management of the university refuses to cancel the new medical fee.
“This protest action, which resulted in the cancellation of GNS221 exam earlier scheduled for Friday was as a result of the N2,000 medical fee payment that was introduced on the students portal.
“The union members have since taken a stance that the fee should be cancelled,” the SUG President said.
He, however, disclosed that the university management opened a room for dialogue with the students, adding that a meeting was held immediately after the protest.
“The meeting ended with both the management and students union members agreeing to reconvene on Thursday, 25TH of March, for further deliberation.
“We are resolute that the university management would surely listen to the plight of the students and grant this demand,” he said.
In his message to students who could not sit for their papers on Friday, Soneye stated that, “We sincerely apologise for whatever inconvenience the protest might have caused you. We remain resolute as victory is certain. Aluta Continua!”
On his part, the Ogun State Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Damilola Simeon, blamed the Acting Vice Chancellor of TASUED, Prof. Wole Banjo, for the protest, accusing him of hiking fees payable by students of the school.
Simeon said the Acting VC, in less than two months after his appointment, increased the acceptance fee and promised not to increase any other fee after NANS representative met him on behalf of the many indigent students in TASUED.
He told GCFRNG that there are series of protests going on in the University of Education, saying the Acting Vice Chancellor is fond of making anti-students policies like the introduction of the N2,000 medical fee.
“He’s been making life so unbearable for our students over there in Ijagun with his anti-students policies. It has gotten to a stage that we can’t take it any longer. He has been running that school like a family affair. From my findings, I got to know that nobody can talk to him. He’s so adamant on his decisions.
“If he refuses to reverse that fee between now and the next 72 hours, we are going to that school to shut it down. I myself will lead the teeming Nigerian students to the school and we are going to shut it down. They won’t be able to run their daily activities unless the needful is done,” Ogun NANS Chairman threatened.
In his reaction, the Acting Vice Chancellor, told GCFRNG that the new medical fee is what the Federal Government approved as Tertiary Institution Social and Medical Insurance Scheme.
“All over the country, it is a rule by the Federal Government. We staff, we keyed into it, we are paying every month. All over the country, university students are paying and that N2,000 Naira is the least of payments in all tertiary institutions in Nigeria. If not for the increase in prices of drugs, we would not have done that, because to take care of over 20,000 students is not easy. That is why we decided that they should start paying so that we can improve the health facilities on campus,” the Acting VC said.
While saying he has not been increasing any other fees, Prof. Banjo explained that the acceptance fee is for students incoming students.
“The acceptance fee is being paid in all universities. Ours is not the only one. It is formerly N50,000 and now N60,000. Some other universities are collecting N70,000, even public universities,” he added.
On the call to the university to reverse the medical fee or have the school shut down, the Professor hinted that the issue had been resolved yesterday.
“We have already resolved that yesterday. We had a meeting and we asked the students to go around and see what obtains in some other universities. So when they come back, we will resolve the issue.
“Our students are law-abiding. They can’t do that. Even the one they did yesterday was a peaceful protest. They didn’t destroy any university property,” he told GCFRNG in an interview.
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