Students in Ogun State have asked the state government to cancel the payment of school fees and instead provide study allowances to them to encourage literacy and learning.
The demand was made in a statement signed by Ayoola Babalola, Coordinator, Take-It-Back Movement, Campus Wing, on Tuesday.
The group also called on the Ogun State Government to declare a state of emergency on education so that special attention can be given to improve infrastructure for learning in the state.
The statement reads, "The need for fees cancelation is not far-fetched as it is a well-known fact that Coronavirus had handicapped the economic lives and financial stability of the Nigerian people. It is also well known that the majority of our students and their parents constitute the larger percentage of average Nigerians, who fall into the middle class and can hardly afford the heavy, inconsiderate and inhumane fees imposed on education in the state and across the country.
"The concept of fees cancelation is key towards fostering inclusive and people centred governance. It would be inhumane, wicked and dishonest of any government to assume that the National economic downturn would not take its turn on our students and incapacitate many of them financially.
"It is also dishonest to think that the long downtrodden Nigerian students who have been left uncared for would have enough resources to continue making these expensive payments head on without a sort of palliative or intervention. We as a movement hold that the fees abolition is a joint task that must be carried out by the joint task masters of our educational sector, the governments and our various institutions.
"We demand that federal and state governments abolish total fees payment in all institutions under their control as a form of responsive and responsible intervention in this looming crisis of massive dropouts in our institutions.
"We also hold that institutions are obligated to be concerned about the ability of their students to meet up the payment of their fees and they also have the responsibility of making it easy for them . We have received reports of continued actions by different management of institutions to uphold and enforce the full payments of fees.
"Institutions in Ogun State, most specifically, Ogun State Institute of Technology, Igbesa, are enforcing the payments of fees in this period, that may signify insensitivity and holding our students to ransom for the economic downturn.
"We demand that these insensitive and insatiable hunger to make money at all costs be shunned and our students be given relaxation on payment.
"We call for a declaration of state of emergency in Nigeria's educational sector. We hold that public education in Nigeria is in free fall, it is a mind-boggling collapse that threatens the very foundation and future of the Nigerian state.
"Depriving citizens, youths especially of education is depriving us of everything including our dignity and ability to reason and defend ourselves and our country. We demand that government at all levels begins to revolutionalise the Nigerian academic system to position our youths and students for the 21st century future."