The National Association of Nigerian Students has expressed strong opposition to the alleged plans by federal universities in the country to increase, by 200 per cent, their tuitions and various other charges from this year, calling on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to, “as a matter of urgency, intervene and stop the plan before it degenerates into a crisis in the nation’s ivory towers”.
The PUNCH reports that NANS is the umbrella body of all Nigerian students in tertiary schools both at home and in the diaspora and has about 50 million members globally.
The PUNCH had exclusively reported a plan to hike fees of federal universities over rising inflation. A survey across some federal universities in the country also revealed that some universities had announced a hike in fees.
But NANS, in a letter addressed to Buhari, dated January 4, 2023, and titled: ‘Request for fatherly intervention on school fees increment by tertiary institutions in Nigeria’ a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent , on Friday, was signed by both the National President and the Senate President of the association, Usman Umar Barambu and Attah Unalue Felix, respectively.
The students also copied for their notices the Minister of Education, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser, and the Inspector General of Police, among others.
The students, while commending President Buhari for his efforts so far on education, security and other sectors of the economy despite the global economic downturn that also hit Nigeria, said they were by the letter, “bringing to his notice the plan by the governing councils of federal universities in the country to hike their tuitions by 200 per cent and their own opposition to such plan.
“The VCs by the such move are not only inconsiderate but also insensitive to the plights of their students. President Buhari should quickly intervene and stop the move as the majority of students who attend public universities, particularly in Nigeria, are from financially disadvantaged homes and would not be able to afford such an increment.
“The vice-chancellors and lecturers of various universities had already devised a special way of mitigating the effects of the planned increment by granting their own children in those schools significant rebate while leaving others from poor homes to their fate.”
NANS further disclosed that the union had reached out to relevant stakeholders in line with the constitution as a pressure group on the matter and now at this time calling on President Buhari as a father and a visitor to all the federal universities in the country, to intervene and stop the increment.
They said, “NANS will not leave any stone unturned on this development because public tertiary schools are the last hope for the common man.”
They asked rhetorically where to go again to study if they could not access tertiary education through government schools in the country.
They said should there be any increment in their school fees, which comes under the branded name known as ‘statutory fee and other charges’ as planned by the universities, many of them would certainly drop out of school and many would not also be able to further their education to tertiary schools again in the country.
They said they wanted to believe that President Buhari would not allow such situation to happen knowing full well its adverse consequences, hence his immediate intervention on the matter.