Students of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, Ogun State, trooped out in their numbers to kick against a newly introduced medical fee of N2,000 by the university management.
The students who chanted, “we say no to urgent 2k”, boycotted the ongoing second-semester examinations on Friday, while threatening to picket the university unless their demand is met.
Abdul-Azeez Soneye, the President of the TASUED Students Union Government, explained that the N2,000 medical fee was introduced on the students portal, all of a sudden.
He insisted that the protest would continue if the management of the university refuses to cancel the new medical fee.
In his words, “This protest action, which resulted in the cancellation of GNS221 exam earlier scheduled for Friday was as a result of the N2,000 medical fee payment that was introduced on the students portal.
“The union members have since taken a stance that the fee should be cancelled.”
Soneye, however, disclosed that the university management opened a room for dialogue with the students, adding that a meeting was held immediately after the protest.
“The meeting ended with both the management and students union members agreeing to reconvene on Thursday, 25TH of March, for further deliberation.
“We are resolute that the university management would surely listen to the plight of the students and grant this demand,” he said.
In his message to students who could not sit for their papers on Friday, Soneye stated that “We sincerely apologise for whatever inconvenience the protest might have caused you. We remain resolute as victory is certain. Aluta Continua!”
Reacting to the development, Damilola Simeon, the Ogun State Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), blamed the Acting Vice-Chancellor of TASUED, Prof. Wole Banjo, for the protest, while accusing him of hiking fees payable by students.
Simeon said the Acting VC, in less than two months after his appointment, increased the acceptance fee.
He said that there are series of protests going on in TASUED, saying the Acting Vice-Chancellor is fond of making anti-students policies like the introduction of the N2,000 medical fee.
“He’s been making life so unbearable for our students over there in Ijagun with his anti-students policies. It has gotten to a stage that we can’t take it any longer. He has been running that school like a family affair. From my findings, I got to know that nobody can talk to him. He’s so adamant on his decisions.
“If he refuses to reverse that fee between now and the next 72 hours, we are going to that school to shut it down. I myself will lead the teeming Nigerian students to the school and we are going to shut it down. They won’t be able to run their daily activities unless the needful is done,” Ogun NANS Chairman threatened.
Reacting to the allegations, Prof. Wole Banjo, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, said that the new medical fee is what the Federal Government approved as Tertiary Institution Social and Medical Insurance Scheme.
“All over the country, it is a rule by the Federal Government. We staff, we keyed into it, we are paying every month. All over the country, university students are paying and that N2,000 Naira is the least of payments in all tertiary institutions in Nigeria. If not for the increase in prices of drugs, we would not have done that, because to take care of over 20,000 students is not easy. That is why we decided that they should start paying so that we can improve the health facilities on campus,” the Acting VC said.
Prof. Banjo explained that he hasn’t increased any other fees while stressing that the acceptance fee is for fresh students.
“The acceptance fee is being paid in all universities. Ours is not the only one. It is formerly N50,000 and now N60,000. Some other universities are collecting N70,000, even public universities,” he added.
The Ag V-C also hinted that the call to reverse the medical fee had been resolved.
“We have already resolved that yesterday (Friday). We had a meeting and we asked the students to go around and see what obtains in some other universities. So when they come back, we will resolve the issue,” he said.