Two factions of students of tertiary institutions in Ogun State on Thursday separately trooped out in their hundreds to register their appreciations and protest against hike in their tuition fees by the state government.
Sources told New Mail Nigeria in Abeokuta, the state capital that students from nine tertiary institutions had early in the day paid a “Thank You Visit” to the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun for the recent slashing of school fees.
The students were reportedly received by the state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Segun Odubela and his information counterpart, Yusuf Olaniyonu on behalf of the governor currently in Abuja attending the National Economic Council meeting.
The students had expressed their satisfaction and appreciation to the state government for agreeing to reduce the school fees across board and pledged their support for the various initiatives currently embarked upon by the state government.
However, the other group, said to be led by the Student Union President of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, also came in their hundreds, demanding a further slash in the school fees, claiming that the new fees introduced by the state government is outrageous.
Some of the fuming students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, and Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, told our correspondent that the hike in tuition fees was unaffordable by their parents. “We are not prepared to leave the Governor’s Office gate until our demands are met by the government.
“We pay as much as N140,000 for a session and the acceptance fee has also gone up to N40,000, which is unbearable for us. The government should hear our cry and reduce these fees they imposed on us.”
The students, among others, are demanding that the fees should further be slashed to N50,000 and insisting that it takes immediate effect, thus compelling the government to start the implementation effective current semester.
Olaniyonu however told New Mail Nigeria in a telephone conversation that the protest embarked upon by a faction of students from the Olabisi Onabanjo University was ill-informed, stating that there was no basis for the action considering the fact that the state government had just slashed the fees.
“Their action is very unfortunate. Just this Tuesday, His Excellency, Governor Ibikunle Amosun just approved a drastic reduction in school fees paid by all tertiary students in the state. All the students representatives were duly represented in the negotiations that led to the review.
“In fact, when the panel submitted its report to the governor, Senator Amosun still insisted that the figure be brought down, which was what formed the basis for the new rate announced by the state Commissioner for Education last Tuesday.
“Of-course, we know where all these are coming from. The OOU students Union leadership is being prodded by a former governor of the state who is desperately doing everything to frustrate the efforts of the current government in the state, but I can assure you that His Excellency remains focused in his avowed commitment to providing the best democratic dividends to all indigenes of the state with the available resources,” Olaniyonu said.
It would be recalled that the State Government had on Tuesday announced the reduction of school fees in all its tertiary institutions.
The state commissioner for education, science and technology, Segun Odubela, who announced this at a press conference at the Governor’s Office Press Centre in Abeokuta, explained that in the new school fees regime, which will take effect from the 2014/2015 academic session, students will pay up to 61 per cent less than they are currently paying.
Under the new arrangement, some students will pay as low as N29,700, and Odubela stressed that the reduction was arrived at after extensive deliberation between the government, leadership of the various Students’ Unions and heads of the institutions.
The commissioner also announced the abolition of the indigene/non-indigene dichotomy, saying students offering the same course, at the same level will pay the same fees.
The Commissioner said that medical students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, who are currently paying N301,610 will now pay N176,596, representing a 41.4 per cent reduction.
Students of the Faculty of Arts in the same university will be paying N81,112 instead of the current fee of N126,540, a 35.9 per cent reduction.
In the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, the school fees has been reduced from N71,300 to N40,000 for Higher National Diploma, HND, while the Ordinary National Diploma, OND, students will now pay N22,300.
Students of Tai Solarin University of Education, TASUED, will enjoy a reduction from N103,435 for the first year students to N75,000, representing 27.5 per cent reduction, while returning students who are paying N93,465 will now pay N65,000, representing 30.4 per cent reduction.
Higher National Diploma, HND, students of Ogun State Institute of Technology, Igbesa, who are currently paying N118,000 will now pay N46,000, a reduction of 61 per cent. The reduction of fees will also apply to the other three Institutes of Technology owned by the state government.
The Commissioner said the state government donated 13 buses to the Students’ Unions of all State and Federal Institutions in the state, including the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Ogun State Chapter.