BENIN CITY- Students of the University of Benin, yesterday in Benin, crippled academic activities on its Ugbowo and Ekehuan Campuses in protest of an alleged UNIBEN Management introduction of additional twenty thousand Naira late school fees payment.
It was gathered that the peaceful protest which started as early as 7:00am as the students in their large numbers were seen brandishing placards with various inscription the alleged management’s action as insensitive.
On why the protest, a 400 level student of the university who pleaded anonymity told The NIGERIAN OBSERVER that the displeased students had explored dialogue before embarking on the peaceful protest.
According to him, their dialogue with the Vice-Chancellor was not fruitful and was further angered by a statement allegedly credited to the University Public Relations Officer, Dr Benedicta Ehanire that reads:
“Education is a privilege and not a right. If you can’t pay your fees, then you are supposed to be learning trade or skills”
Another source alleged that the school is without a Students Union Government (SUG) as the last one was dissolved and are preparing for a fresh SUG poll on the 16th of September.
The 200 level female student who didn’t want her identity revealed berated the alleged school management’s decision.
She said: “First it is unfair. All fingers are not equal. Some students pay their fees by themselves. Some have not even resumed because they no money to resume.
It’s not even 10k but “20k and if the students have the money, they would have paid their fees before now. Why acting like a dictator in her administration. We have a voice. And together we say she should reduce it or extend the deadline.”
Another student at the protest ground who spoke on the matter pleaded with the management for more time as students and parents are still recovering from the harsh economic realities ushered in by COVID-19.
The 400 level female student said: “The sudden 20k increment in fees is unjust and just doesn’t make sense…Why are we being punished for our inability to pay fees? school only resumed recently and some of us haven’t recovered from the cost of trying to settle down in school”
“Then suddenly hiking fees in a post COVID year when many of our parents haven’t even recovered from the economic shock is simply just inhumane.
Worse still, they are threatening that admission will be withdrawn by this Saturday… We are not saying we won’t pay. We are just saying give us time and stop the unjust hike”, she asserted.
Attempt to get reaction from the School PRO, Mrs. Benedicta Ehanire, proved abortive.