Students of Delta State University have alleged that they are being extorted of N4,000 each annually by the school authorities.
The students accused the school's vice-chancellor, Andy Egwunyenga and the bursar, Justice Egbare, of being behind the alleged extortion.
According to the students, the alleged extortion has been going on for almost two years.
The students alleged that 100 level students or freshers are compelled and students doing clearance after graduation are compelled to pay N4,000 for the school's magazine –DELSU @ 25– which they never get.
Speaking to our correspondent, a new student of the Delta State University, Oleh campus, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, disclosed that in March 2021, he and other new students were compulsorily made to pay N4,000 for the school's magazine, known as 'DELSU @ 25' which was not given to them.
The student said, "As we talk, the magazine is moribund but still the VC and the bursar forced new intakes to pay the N4,000 each for the same moribund magazine, 'Delta @ 25' that we don't see till we graduate. Even those doing clearance after graduation are made to pay this N4,000.
"That is, if you escaped it at your 100 level registration. Others and I paid the N4,000 in March this year during my 100 level registration and while others paid theirs in February this year into the school's Unity Bank account after which you go and convert the payment into DELSU receipt which I just gave to you now."
Another student in 200 level, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the payment of the N4,000 for the school's magazine.
The student said the magazine had not been given to her till date, describing the act as "a serious fraud going on unnoticed in the institution, especially in the bursary department headed by Egbare".
"The school magazine, 'Delta @ 25' has been rested for some time now following some disagreements between the Vice-Chancellor and those in charge of the magazine publication because it was given out as a contract. But even as the magazine has been rested, the VC and the bursar still collect N4,000 each from new students who don’t get to sight a copy of the magazine which they have paid for. This is a serious fraud against the students. This fraud is committed yearly," the student said.
A graduate of the school who is currently doing his clearance at the institution in Abraka, displayed a document showing a payment of N4,000 made in favour of the institution.
He said the sum of N4,000 was allegedly extorted from him by the school's authority on Tuesday, December 2, 2021 when he went for his clearance in Abraka.
“The magazine was not given to me,” he noted.
"This is a draft showing payment I made in favour of the school at the bursary department. You can see in the draft, a total sum of N29,000 was paid, N4,000 was for the institution's magazine called 'DELSU @ 25' that we don't ever see, N15,000 was paid for a certificate while N10,000 was for the penalty for late clearance for collection of the certificate as shown in the draft.
“Students are being made to pay this N4,000 every session for a magazine they don't see till eternity. Graduates doing clearance are also forced to pay this N4,000 for the same magazine that is not in existence. Is that not fraud and a corrupt practice? This is how the VC and the bursar have continued to extort innocent students yearly,” the student said.
New students and graduates of the institution have however cried out to the state governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the general public to prevail on the VC and the bursar to stop the alleged extortion and refund all the money so far allegedly extorted from them.
Speaking with SaharaReporters on the issue, an official of TONDEK Agency, the firm publishing the institution's magazine, 'DELSU @ 25', Anthony Arugba, described the N4,000 payment for the institution's magazine by the students as a 'monumental fraud' going on in the school.
Arugba said, "’DELSU @ 25’ publication is a contract from the institution but solely initiated and financed by TONDEK Agency with a life span of five years. However, shortly after the Vice-Chancellor, Andy Egwunyenga took over, he willfully breached the terms of the MoU, and when his opinion was sought on the issue, he boasted that he owed nobody an apology and that whatever agreement reached by his predecessor, died with the man that initiated the agreement, irrespective of the fact that the agreement was reached between the Agency and the University.
“As of this day, Egwunyenga has blatantly refused to acknowledge every effort Tondek has made to reconcile the account with the university.
"It is even strange that Egwunyenga who openly described the anniversary magazine as ‘useless and outdated’, has continued to connive with the school's bursar, Justice Egbare, to extort the sum of N4,000 each for the magazine from new students, those doing clearance after graduation, as well as those applying for certificates.
“What even makes the whole action somewhat fraudulent is that apart from his sheer refusal to remit Tondek's share of the proceeds, a number of new students who paid for the magazine, particularly in Oleh campus of the university, were never issued the magazines till date. Therefore, what he has done could be likened to obtaining under false pretences. Does such action by Egwunyenga amount to honesty or fraud? Your guess is as good as mine!”
Scoring the two years administration of Egwunyenga below average, Arugba, however, gave the VC a pat on the back for the administration’s effort in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT) on the main campus of the institution.
"There are divergent opinions on the performance of Egwunyenga, so far. On the good side, his impact on Information Communication Technology (ICT) is commendable on the main campus of the university where free WiFi is provided for both staff and students. He has made conscious efforts at growing the students' population among others. However, the management under Prof. Egwunyenga has been weakened by poor conception and execution of policies,” he said.
Contacted for reactions on the alleged extortion of students, the school’s VC, Egwunyenga and the bursar, Egbare, denied the allegation.
"Well, I am not aware of such payment and collection from students," Egwunyenga said.
Similarly, Egbare said, "I am not aware of that, it's not correct, we don't ask students to pay for any school magazine."