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.

NANS urged the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.), to “intervene urgently and stop the plan before it degenerates into a crisis in the nation’s ivory towers.”

the punch reports that NANS is the umbrella body for all Nigerian students in tertiary schools both in the country and in the diaspora and has around 50 million members worldwide.

the punch had exclusively reported on a plan to raise fees at 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 on Increased School Fees by Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria”, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent on Friday, was signed by the National President and President of the Senate of the association, Usman Umar Barambu and Attah Unalue Felix respectively.

The students also copied for their notice the Minister of Education, the Executive Secretary of the NUC, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser and the Police Inspector General, among others.

Part of the statement read: “The VC, with 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 most students attending public universities, particularly in Nigeria, come from economically disadvantaged homes and will not be able to 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.”

Meanwhile, NANS has called on the federal government to increase funding for the education sector through other means rather than relying on fee increases.

The association said the government had a constitutional responsibility to provide affordable education to its citizens and as such must turn to other sources to finance the sector.

Remember that some federal universities have recently begun increasing enrollment and tuition rates for students in an attempt to improve funding for the institutions.

NANS National Public Relations Officer Temitope Giwa in an interview with saturday punch, said the decision to increase fees was a burden on students and their parents.

He described the government’s inability to provide adequate funding for tertiary institutions as worrisome, adding that workers’ wages should be raised for parents considering current economic realities.

He revealed that a committee had been established in all geopolitical zones to interact with the school administration for a possible reduction in fees.

He said: “What we hear is that the government has asked the vice-chancellors to increase school fees and we are not happy about that.

“We have created a committee in all geopolitical zones so that we meet with the management of any institution that has increased its fees so that they can stop that increase.

“But if they must increase, it should not be more than a 10 percent increase. It is not that we hear that some schools are increasing more than 100 percent. It’s too much. As we all know, there is no money.

“When there was no fee increase, some students had a hard time paying while others couldn’t pay. Some go the extra mile to get money for their fees. Some engage in cybercrime, prostitution, kidnapping, and other social vices just to pay fees.

“Now that you are raising the rates, what are you telling them to do? Remember that you are increasing the fees, but the wages of the parents remain the same. How do you expect the students to survive?