By Polycarp Auta
Jos – Students of Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin-Ladi on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest over alleged extortion by management of the institution.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who visited the school, found the students camped at the gate which they locked, preventing movement into or out of the campus.
Some of the students held placards which read “Refund our N5,500”, “Management is being unfair to us,” “No one can chop our money”, among others.
Their spokesman, Rengtu Longkat, told NAN that HND students of the Polytechnic had, in 2016, paid N5,500 for JAMB regularisation, but that the school management later directed the students to pay another N11,500 for the same purpose.
He explained that the students paid the later amount after the school management promised to refund the N5,500 earlier paid.
“This protest is to ask management to fulfill its promise.
“We have been waiting for management to start the payment. Last week, we were asked to submit our account details, but since then we have not heard anything. That is why we are here.
“We met them and they promised to refund our money, but what we have heard from them is silence,” he said.
“Aside the JAMB payments, lots of monies are being extorted from students. In one instance, we were asked to pay for ICT facilities that we have never enjoyed.
“Upon registration, too, every student paid N4,500 as medical fee; but we hardly get even ordinary drugs in the clinic,” he said.
Longkat also claimed that the school had an acute shortage of lecturers.
“There are lecturers that take 20 courses. This has affected their capacity to effectively deliver quality education. We cannot continue this way,” he said.
The spokesman accused management of paying more attention to generating funds without much concern about the welfare of the students who pay the fees.
Longkat also alleged that management had not made any effort to rebuild the female hostel burnt down three weeks ago, pointing out that many of those affected had been forced to leave the school because everything they had was razed down.
Efforts to speak with the Rector, Prof. Dauda Gyemang, were not successful as his lines kept ringing out, but a senior official of the school, who craved anonymity, told NAN that the N5,500 being demanded by the students was paid to JAMB.
“We were expecting JAMB to refund the money to us so that we shall, in turn, pay it to the students, but we are yet to receive the money,” he said.
The source, however, rejected allegations that monies were being extorted from students.
“Every payment is specifically tied to a particular service. We do not extort money from students here,” he said.
The source, however, agreed that there was an acute of shortage of lecturers, adding that the problem had been reported to the state government.