The National Association of Nigerian Students has voiced strong opposition to alleged plans by the country’s federal universities to increase their tuition and other fees by 200 percent starting this year, calling on the president, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to “as a matter of urgency, intervene and stop the plan before it degenerates into a crisis in the nation’s ivory towers.”
PUNCH reports that NANS is the umbrella body for all Nigerian students in tertiary schools both at home and in the diaspora and has around 50 million members worldwide.
PUNCH had exclusively reported on a plan to increase the fees of federal universities due to rising inflation. A survey of some federal universities in the country also revealed that some universities had announced a fee increase.
But NANS, in a letter to Buhari, dated 4 January 2023, headed: ‘Request for parental intervention in raising school fees by tertiary institutions in Nigeria’, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent , on Friday, was signed by both the National President and the President of the Senate of the association, Usman Umar Barambu and Attah Unalue Felix, respectively.
The students also copied for their communications the Minister of Education, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission of Universities, the President of the Senate, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the Security Advisor Nacional, and the Inspector General of Police, among others.
The students, while praising President Buhari for his efforts so far in education, security and other sectors of the economy despite the global economic downturn that has also hit Nigeria, said they were by letter, “bringing to your attention the plan of the governing councils of the country’s federal universities to increase their enrollment by 200 percent and their own opposition to such a plan.
“VCs for such a move are not only inconsiderate but also insensitive to the plight of their students. President Buhari should quickly intervene and stop the movement as the majority of students attending public universities, particularly in Nigeria, come from economically disadvantaged homes and could not afford such an increase.
“Vice chancellors and professors at various universities had already devised a special way to mitigate the effects of the planned increase by giving their own children in those schools a significant refund while leaving others from poor households to fend for themselves.”
NANS further revealed that the union had approached relevant stakeholders in accordance with the constitution as a lobby group on the matter and now at this time calls on President Buhari, as a father and visitor to all federal universities in the country, to intervene. and stop the increase.
They said, “NANS will leave no stone unturned in this development because public tertiary schools are the last hope for the common man.”
They rhetorically asked where to go back to study if they could not access tertiary education through the country’s public schools.
They said that if there were any increase in their school fees, which comes under the brand name known as ‘legal fee and other charges’ as planned by the universities, many of them would certainly drop out of school and many would also not be able to continue their education in schools. tertiaries again in the country.
They said that they wanted to believe that President Buhari would not allow such a situation to happen knowing full well its adverse consequences, hence their immediate intervention on the matter.