Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has reversed the increase of tuition fees for students of the Lagos State University (LASU) to N25,000.
Following sustained popular rejection of higher tuition fees at the Lagos State University, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola today reverted to the old fees of N25,000.
The governor made the announcement at the 19th Convocation Ceremony of the university, praising the students for their maturity during the disagreement.
In 2011, Mr. Fashola came under widespread criticism for raising the fees. The contentious new structure had students paying between N193,000 and N350,000. His critics accused him of hypocrisy, pointing out he had himself enjoyed free tuition as a student at the University of Benin in Edo State.
Mr. Fashola justified his widely criticized tuition raises on the necessity for infrastructural upgrades, but he failed to convince the students. They argued during a series of protests against the hike that the State has enough facilities and resources to raise the standard of the institution and infrastructure to international standards without putting the burden on poor students.
Announcing the government’s change of mind on Thursday, Fashola said the students had been “mature and civil” in their agitation for fee reversal and he thanked the institution’s Student Union for its handling of the disagreement.
“In the course of their protests, I invited them; they responded and we both arrived at a decision where the students submitted a position paper on what they feel should be recommended as fees.”
He recalled that the Lagos State executive council examined the submissions of the students and recommended 34 to 60 per cent reduction, but that since the students were adamant on a complete reversal, the government had decided to grant their request.
The governor’s decision caused great excitement at the convocation hall, and it took several minutes for security and protocol officers to restore calm in the area.
It would be recalled that during their numerous protests, the students were attacked violently by State security agents on the orders of the government. One of those attacks took place right at the Governor's office, where he reportedly turned his back on them and signaled the police guarding his office to teargas the demonstrators.
For his scheduled visit to the institution today, the students had planned a protest to disrupt his speech, which would have further damaged his popularity, but the good news he brought changed that.