Despite President Bola Ahmed Tinubu instructing Federal-owned universities to impose no increment on school fees on students, the University of Lagos (UNILAG) has slammed new charges on its earlier increments that students kicked against and the police prevented them from staging a public protest about.
The school this week imposed N50,000 charges on fees it earlier increased to N140,000 and above.
This happens to be the latest in a series of fee hikes under the administration of the current Vice Chancellor Professor Folasade Ogunsola, who happens to be the school’s first female head, appointed October 2020.
In addition, the school has increased accommodation fees for undergraduates to about 400 percent, from N25,000 to N100,000, while medical students would pay N120,000.
The new increments join the ones of July 20 when the university raised fees by about 900 percent,
Instead of last session’s N19,000, UNILAG now charges N190,250 for students studying medicine, while courses requiring laboratory and studio facilities need students to pay N140,250.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) July ending wrote the management of UNILAG to reverse the initial increments.
Students and their parents are already groaning, complaining and kicking against the new fees.
“This is not only wrong it is evil,” said one parent, who has a ward in the Arts Faculty. “Even the initially increased fees have been excruciating enough, and now the school goes ahead to do this.”
One second-year student lamented: “My parents had not come to terms with the earlier increase and were already complaining about how they were expected to come up with the new fees. This is a university where I entered with school fees as just N15,000 in 2021.”
Some have expressed doubts about the assurances that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave to Nigerians that tuition in universities remained free.
According to the newly released charges, the school has added for final-year students in the Arts and Social Sciences faculties:
· Utility Charge –N20,000
· Undergraduate Convocation Fee –N30,000
· Undergraduate Obligatory Fee –N140,250.
One student said: “This amounts to adding insult upon injury. We students were already fighting against the sudden imposition of over N100,000 to our school fees that were no more than N19,000 before. Suddenly, the next thing we hear is that the VC has introduced fresh fees.
“This is very inconsiderate of a public institution where the government says it practises free education. Even some state-owned institutions do not charge a fraction of what they are telling us to pay now.”
The National Association of Nigerian Students Joint Campus Council (NANS JCC), Lagos State, had declared a protest last week against the hike in UNILAG school fees, but for the intervention of the Commissioner of Police, Mr Idowu Owohunwa.
The Police Commissioner also set up a Police-Student Relations Committee (PSRC) to address issues that might arise from the meeting in the future.
However, it is not clear how NANS JCC would react to the new increases.