On Monday the 12th of July, students of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University staged a protest over the hike in tuition fees. The protest, which was borne out of the agitation of students over the hike in fees, commenced on Monday and continued on Tuesday the 13th of July as students clamoured to make their voices heard.
Before now, the UNIZIK tuition fee ranged between N20,100 to N25,000 for returning students and N55,000 to N60,000 for new students. But, with the review in fees, returning students are now expected to pay between N55,000 to N60,000 while new students will have to pay between N97,000 to N120,000. Additionally, new students will have to pay other mandatory fees such as the Acceptance Fee: N50,000, the Matriculation Fee: N5,000, the General Studies Registration Fee: N16,500. This comes to a total of about N200,000.
Prior to the protest, the Acting Head of Information and public relations, Chika Ene, debunked the news of a hike in school fees which was being spread by the students. He stated that the news on the tuition increment was not only false but also misleading and an attempt to cause unrest in the university. This further fueled the anger and agitation of the students as they embarked on a protest causing most classes in the school to be cancelled.
In an interview with a student who wishes to remain anonymous, he explained the plight of students over the increased fees, stressing the devastating effects it has on students. He recounted how he and his friends had to contribute a sum of N15,000 to assist their fellow student who was training himself in school and could not meet up with the deadline of the school fees payment.
Ogechi Faustina, a student of International Relations, narrated her ordeal with the hike in fees. She said: “My Dad has 3 children in the school, with the hike in school fees he pays close to half a million for all 3 of us and this is minus our accommodation rent and money for upkeep.”
Kingsley, a final student of UNIZIK lamented over the impact of the hike on him, saying: “I had to struggle to get that large amount of money within a short period of time, if not I wouldn’t be allowed to write the examinations.”
Notwithstanding the outcry of various students insisting for the reduction of fees, there are other students who show indifference to the protest. When interviewed on the hike of school fees Beatrice said: “Generally in Nigeria, the price of everything is mind-blowing and so, it is not only the school fees.” She further stated that the protest was a wrong move as judging from the past events, nothing good has come out of protests.
The protest, which had gained recognition nationally, caused the students to continue the next day Tuesday the 13th of July, prompting the Vice-Chancellor of the University to address the students.
In his address, the VC of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Prof Okechukwu Esimone, urged the students for 24hrs of grace to sort things out. Refusing to harken to the VC, the students continued protesting, demanding an immediate solution, not a 24-hour delay.
Finally, the protest was suspended to be continued on Thursday 14th of July 2021 if the demands are not met.
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