The Alliance of Nigerian Students Against Neoliberal Attack (ANSA) has condemned the hike in school fees and hotel fees of University of Benin students, calling on the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Osasere Orunmwense, to reverse the fees or resign from his position.
The group also called on the University management to restore the proscribed students’ union body in the varsity.
It accused the management of insensitive for increasing school fees as a time of economic hardship.
“What this hike action reveals is the insensitivity of Prof. Orunwense to the current economic hardship of the Nigerian masses. Otherwise, how does a Vice-Chancellor expect a mother who suffers to put her child through school, merely by selling pepper or sachet water under the scorching sun at Uselu Market; or how does he expect a poor father who earns a miserly thirty thousand naira (#30) a month by driving UNIBEN shuttle to cope with the new fees and charges? How does the Vice Chancellor expect the working class parents who have not been paid up to nine months of salaries by the same government to cope?"
“In a country that shamefully operates the lowest minimum wage in the world, eighteen thousand naira (#18,000); less than 50 dollars, the public must begin to demand that the VC publicly explain how such an already impoverished masses can cope with this current hike? Clearly, the hike is intended to price education out of the reach of the poor. But all authorities must know, to cite the words of JF Kennedy– that our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education,” the statement read.
ANSA also stated that the hike in Unibeen might be the beginning of similar trends across the universities as the government has reduced allocation on education in the 2018 budget.
“While the paltry about 7 percent allocation to the education of the 2017 budget contributes to this current nightmare in education, the most current 6 percent allocation contained in the appropriation budget of 2018 threatens a worse tragedy for education in this country. This hike at UNIBEN threatens to become a template for a similar hike of fees and charges at other universities in Nigeria. This is one of the many reasons why all men and women of good conscience everywhere must call for a total reversal of the hike. Nigerian students throughout the federation must begin to organize and synergize for a nationwide mass movement against this callous policy of our selfish, inconsiderate capitalist ruling class," the statement read.
“Needless to say, the devious plan of fee increment is nothing short of a national program that is to be unleashed on every campus in the country. These horrific round of fee increments is not only targeted at making our poor parents bear the responsibility of an irresponsible government but as well to price education out of the reach of over 120
million poor Nigerian populace."