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General News of Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Source: punchng.com

Students’ group protests, warns Northern varsities against fee hike

Some Northern universities Some Northern universities

The students’ wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups on Wednesday protested against the increase in school fees and other levies across tertiary institutions in the North.

While giving the government three weeks ultimatum to address the issue to avoid resorting to the language they understand, the organisation warned that except stringent measures were put in place to check the increase, the number of girls that would drop out of school would increase.

The national coordinator of CNG (Students Wing), Jamilu Aliyu, who raised the issues during a press conference in Abuja said institutions such as Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi in the North-East; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in the North-West; all with over 100 per cent increase in school fees and Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai in Niger State in the North-Central with over 60 per cent increase was very worrisome.

He said, “The CNG-SW is disturbed by reports from its State chapters of an attempt by the federal and state governments to commercialize education to make it the exclusive preserve of treasury looters at the expense of children of millions of less-privileged Nigerians.

“If the fee hike is not reviewed downward, it might force many students to drop out of school and increase social vices, as students might be compelled to survive by all means. We, therefore, urge the governments at all levels to revert to the old fee to enable students from poor and marginalized families to access tertiary education and break the chain of poverty.

“Finally, while we appeal to the students to be law abiding and not to take laws into their hands in the quest to seek reversal of the fee increase. We equally pray that the government will listen to the cries of innocent Nigerian students within three weeks to avoid speaking in a language that the government understand best. All state coordinators should be on alert for further directives from the National Secretariat.“

There are institutions such as ATBU Bauchi in the North-East, ABU Zaria in the North-West all with over 100 per cent increase and IBB University In the North-Central with over 60 per cent Increase. The CNG Students’ Wing, hereby condemns, in the strongest terms, the hike in tuition fees as an untimely, immoral, unconscionable, height of insensitivity and unacceptable attempt to deny the children of the poor access to affordable education, entrench class dichotomy and widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

“We find it ridiculous and sad that stakeholders, particularly the lawmakers, cannot summon the courage to speak or stand with the people that sacrificed so much to see them in office at this trying time to demand an immediate reversal in the hike.”

“When people who are elected into offices are indifferent or afraid to speak up for what is right and just, then the situation is hopeless. It’s unfortunate, that people in government today who are major beneficiaries of the magnanimity and foresight of past Nigerian leaders in the provision of quality, accessible readily available and affordable education are today the same people working to deprive other generations of the same privileges.

“It’s currently predicted that more girls will drop out of school following the current economic hardship, unemployment, poverty and insecurity which is crippling most of the commercial activities, particularly in Northern Nigeria. It’s worrisome that this was coming at a time when promoting girls education was at the front burner of global discourse, especially in developing countries.

“This singular act has not showcased government’s responsiveness towards promoting inclusive education. This is disheartening to all well-meaning Nigerians and we urge the government to reconsider and rescind its decision,” Aliyu added.

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