The Students’ Solidarity Group has issued a press release detailing the outcome of a meeting held on August 2, 2023 with the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Management regarding the contentious issue of fee increment.
The meeting, which commenced at 3:03 PM, saw the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, leading the university management team, while the students were represented by a delegation comprising prominent student leaders and representatives from various student associations.
The student delegation, including Comrade Giwa Yisa Temitope (NANS PRO) and Comr. Kazeem Olalekan (former NANS Zone D PRO), as well as representatives from the Students’ Solidarity Group, Management Science Students’ Association, and Faculty of Education Students’ Association, demanded the immediate reinstatement of the Students’ Union and a complete reversal of the fee increment.
The Vice-Chancellor opened the discussion and proposed the focus of the meeting be on fee hike and attributed the fee hike to the insufficient funding from the Federal Government.
Prof. Ogunsola asserted that the university had engaged with student leaders from faculties and residence halls, who reportedly expressed support for the fee increase. The university management also claimed to have consulted parents and other university stakeholders before implementing the increment.
The Vice-Chancellor highlighted the financial constraints faced by the university, citing increasing expenses such as electricity bills, which amount to approximately 2 billion naira annually, and monthly costs of providing internet access to students on campus, amounting to ten million naira.
According to Prof. Ogunsola, without subsidizing the costs from the university’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), no student would pay less than 300,000 naira in fees.
She added that if the fee hike is reversed, the university may face closure due to financial strain.
In response, the student delegation raised several counter-arguments. They contended that students and parents should not be burdened with the responsibility of funding education, especially considering the economic challenges exacerbated by the removal of petrol subsidy.
Moreover, the students disagreed with the university management’s claim of widespread consultation, arguing that the absence of a recognized Students’ Union hindered effective representation.
The delegation also challenged the university management’s decision to meet with only a select group of students, rather than involving all students through proper channels. They urged the management to adhere to President Tinubu’s order to halt arbitrary fee increments.
Furthermore, the student delegate urged the management to adhere to President Tinubu’s order to halt arbitrary fee increments while also pointing out the recent declaration by the Federal Government of saving over 1 trillion naira in two months, which was promised to be utilized for funding education and health.
Following intense discussions, the student delegation demanded that the university management immediately halt the fee increment and establish a joint committee comprising representatives from the management, ASUU, Students, and NANS.
According to the delegates, the committee would be tasked with reviewing university finances, evaluating the effectiveness of the management’s palliative program, and determining the necessity and extent of any future fee increment.
The Vice-Chancellor agreed to discuss the delegation’s recommendations with an expanded management team and assured them of reconvening another meeting soon to address the matter further.