IKEJA – Some students of the Lagos State University (LASU) on Thursday staged another protest at the Government House, Ikeja, over what they called government’s reluctance to reduce their hiked tuition fees. The students, numbering about 200, stormed the governor’s office in three high-capacity buses at about 4.30p.m., demanding the reduction of the fees. They came with items like mosquito nets, cooking pots and foodstuffs, vowing not to return home until the fees were reduced. Some of them displayed placards with inscriptions such as “Reduce LASU fees now” and “Education is our right” among others. The heavily armed security details at the governor’s office watched as the students danced to protest songs blaring from two large speakers they brought to the scene. The situation caused a traffic snarl on the road leading directly to the governor’s office as vehicles trying to access the premises could not gain entrance.
Mr Nurudeen Yusuf, the Lagos State University Student Union President, who led the protest, said the action was in response to government’s reluctance to resolve the fee issue.
Yusuf said the governor had two meetings with them and both parties had agreed on resolving the issue.
He said since they reached an agreement, the government had not done anything convincing to resolve the matter
“We met with the governor on March 31 and April 3 and he told us that he would not reverse the fee totally and that we should come with proposals on what we think the new fees should be.
“We proposed N46,500 for returning students and N65,500 for fresh students and since April 24 when we submitted the proposal ,what the government has been telling us is `very soon we will resolve it’ ”
“And we think the phrase `very soon’ is ambiguous as it could mean 2015 or even eternity. We are tired of all this insincerity. We want a reduction now, ” he said.
When told that a committee had been set up by the government to resolve the issue, the SUG president said it was ploy to deceive them.
He said the government constituted the committee only to pretend to be doing something when actually they were doing nothing.
Yusuf dismissed allegations that the tuition protests were politically motivated, saying it had nothing to do with politics but was about the future of the country’s youths.
The student union president contended that the hike had forced many poor students out of school and LASU might be turned to a university for the rich if nothing was done about it.
He said that the students would continue to hold the protests until their demands were met.
The state government had in 2012 increased the school’s tuition from N25,000 to between N195,000 to N350,000.
Explaining the hike, the government had said it was not a unilateral decision but a recommendation by a panel set up to reposition the institution.
The students have staged series of protests at the governor’s office and on major roads against the non-reversal of the hike.
Mr Aderemi Ibirogba, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, had on Wednesday described the protests as unnecessary, saying government was taking steps to resolve the issue.
He said a committee set up on the issue would submit its report on June 9, appealing for calm as government worked on a final resolution of the issue. (NAN)