A group, Movement for a Socialist Alternative, has kicked against the University of Benin, Edo State's extra N20,000 charge imposed by the management for the late payment of school fees.
The UNIBEN had earlier announced that students who did not pay school fees within the stipulated time will have to pay extra charges and may likely have their studentship withdrawn.
The statement signed by the school public relations officer, Dr. Benedicta Ehanire noted that “registration by all students closes on 3rd September, 2021; and after such date, students will no longer have access to the school portal.”
The group, Movement for a Socialist Alternative, disclosed that late payment was not a criminal offence, while they rejected expulsion as punishment for late payment of school fees and 20,000 additional charges.
This was revealed in a statement obtained by SaharaReporters on Tuesday.
PHOTONEWS: University of Benin Students Protest New N20,000 Extra School Fees Charge As Schoolâs Spokesperson Tells Students To âGo Into Prostitution To Pay Feesâ pic.twitter.com/Sw5z4Mvqvm— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) September 14, 2021
It partly reads, “With the recent directive by the Salami-led school management to expulse students who fail to meet the deadline and its supposedly ₦20,000 charge imposed as penalty fee for late payers, it is clear that the management is not considerate.
"In this light, The Movement for Socialist Alternative, calls on the Salami-led school management to reverse its anti-student policies. For the mere fact that it is averse to the very time we live in— an attack on the democratic and fundamental rights of every student to access free and quality education.
"Strangely, the Salami led management is driven by the logic of profit; painfully, not the supposed “motherly care” that was sentimentally canvassed as the driving spirit of her administration.
"We are forced to think, therefore, why the management has chosen to display this level of desperation? And clearly willing to defeat the very essence of its establishment to allow everyone access to education.”
The group said the policy is akin to a military mentality and being imposed by a generation of administrators who basically attended free and affordable institutions.
"How can one possible envisage a scenario wherein a 300 or even a final year student so financial challenged would lose all of his or her year of struggle, hard work and study on account of not being able to immediately pay the school fees?
"Interestingly, this draconian policy, is akin to a military mentality, is being imposed by a generation of administrators who basically attended free and affordable institutions; who were at liberty to pay even to the point of graduation when they had their final clearance.
"This is the very same thing that should be continued; given the current climate of economic difficulties, the crisis of poverty wages, and the late payment of salaries.”
They noted that there are self-sponsoring students, who side by side with the economic hardship and high cost of living, still struggle to be in school.
"This is why the question of independent student unionism must be placed in the right perspective. And with the coming SUG election set to hold on September 16, 2021, this banner for independence and the democratic control and management by the students should be raised high.
"This neo-liberal capitalist approach to commercialize and privatize education, and make it exclusively an affair for only the super-rich in the society must be rejected. The time to organise is now. We call on ASUU in UNIBEN to stand up to be counted and also reject this draconian and inhumane approach to student's right to education.
"As opposed to the management's policies, we call on the Salami-led school management to put in place policies and programme up to the point of scholarship for indigent and financially challenged students. Such programme's structures and facilities can help access fund for students that are orphaned for the duration of their academic programme,” the statement added.