Students at the University of Maiduguri in Borno state took to the streets on Thursday to protest the administration’s increase in school fees.
Speaking to reporters at the protest site, National Vice President, Special Duties of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Suleiman Muhammad Sarki, said the ‘mother of all protests’ will continue if the leadership does not revert to previous charges.
He added that the fee increase would drive a massive population of Nigerian students into insurgency, banditry and kidnapping as they will drop out of school due to their inability to pay.
“I, for example, last year paid N29,830, but this year it shot up to around NANS 74,000,” the NANS leader said, stressing: “I don’t have the money to pay this, I may have to give up. my studies.
Sarki said: “The recent increase in school fees by some Nigerian universities not only surprises us, but is an affront to the war against insurgency, banditry and kidnapping.”
He explained: “Students who cannot afford the new fees could end up dropping out and this will add to the growing number of concerns of youth in Nigeria, which in turn may also increase the number of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers.”
While expressing the hope of Nigerian students that the fee increase “won’t see the light of day”, he said that students plead with the government, senior statesmen, relevant stakeholders in the education sector, rulers traditions, ulama and priests to intervene. and persuade governing councils to rescind their decision on the rate increase.
“We hope that within the next two weeks they will intervene to have the rate increase withdrawn,” the NANS leader said.
“We will lead students across the country on this mother of all protests after the two-week ultimatum, and we will not stop until the decision is rescinded,” he threatened.
“Our own increase is the bare minimum,” Professor Maina Gimba, Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Maiduguri, told PUNCH, explaining that “the increase is based on departmental activities, because the departments, Arts and Humanities, Sciences or any other, with more academic activities, have higher increases.”
Gimba said the current lowest registration fee at the university is N58,000, while the highest, which is at the Faculty of Medicine, is N238,000.
Attributing the rate increase to inflation, he expressed fear that they could rise after the next two years if inflation is not controlled.