Students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) say they will not pay the latest fee regime announced by the authorities of the institution.
In 2016, LAUTECH staff embarked on a six-month industrial action that was called off only so the students could write exams, after which the strike action resumed and went on for another nine months.
The nine-month old strike was eventually called off after students of the institution, under a body named Safe Education and Reopen LAUTECH Students Coalition (SERAL-C), took to the streets of Ibadan on January 9, 2017, and met with Abiola Ajimobi, Governor of the state. It was at this meeting that the Governor addressed them rudely and described himself as the constituted authority of the state.
Although he eventually released a placebo fund for the institution to resume, this was followed by the increase in the fees of fresh students from N65,000 and N72,000 for indigenes of the owner states and non-indigenes to N120,000 and N150,000 respectively.
Parents and students thought the era of fee hike was gone for good, but a leaked memorandum of the meeting of the school's Governing Council on July 20, 2018 showed that the another hike would take effect from the 2018/2019 academic session. Medical, Nursing and Biomedical students were billed to start paying N300,000, Engineering students N250,000 and those of the faculties of Agricultural Sciences, Basic Medical Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Applied Sciences N200,000.
The LAUTECH Students’ Union promptly met with the university management, and they were assured nothing of such would happen. Surprisingly, last week Tuesday, the school announced revised the fees: indigenes are henceforth to pay N200,000 while non-indigenes are to pay N250,000.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, Abiodun Oluwaseun, the Students’ Union President of the institution, said: “The authorities of the university and the governments of the owner-states are wicked and insensitive.
“Our students find it very difficult to pay the N65,000; they pasted debtors’ list of over 4,000 students. Now, they have come up with this ridiculous amount. The stand of our union remains that we will not accept a kobo added to the tuition fee.
“The government should live up to their responsibility and give due subventions to the university; we will resist this anti-people policy with our last breath. If for this cause I die, let it be; we are ready for them; we will not be intimidated by the Police or other machinery they want to use against us, and we will seek legal redress soon.”
Fawole Israel, a leader of the Students’ Union who spoke from the Osogbo campus, said the idea of the hike in fee was “dead on arrival”.
“It is very shameful that two states cannot fund a university. How can the government that pays N18,000 minimum wage expect its citizens to pay N200,000 fee because of the government’s refusal to give subvention to the university?" he asked.
“We will stand and resist commercialisation and privatisation of education; we will stand against these pro-rich policies of the government, and we will not retreat until victory is ascertained.”
Ayandare Somidotun, another union executive, lamented the poor condition of the available facilities in the university, saying: “There is no moral justification for this hike in fee after wasting our 18 months in two years sitting at home.
“Even the service we get from the institution is not congruent with the estimation of fees when we pay N65,000. This is a non-residential institution where the bill of our rent and other expenditure is on us. I use this medium to call on all relevant authorities to be objectively sensitive to the demand of our Students’ Union. We will not accept one naira added to our fees."