Parents of students of Federal University Lokoja, (FUL), Kogi State, have called for immediate removal of the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, over what they described as arbitrary hike in the students’ school fees without recourse to the current economic situation in the country.
The group, who carried placards of various inscriptions, said the protest would continue until the management of the University reverses itself over the increment.
The leader of the group, Moses Abraham, who made the call while addressing newsmen in Lokoja, said the increment which is almost 300 per cent, was orchestrated to deny parents and the masses the opportunity of acquiring university education for their children.
Breaking down the hike in the students’ fees, Abraham explained that the remedial course, which was N50, 000 is now N100, 000, while fees for new intakes that stood at N56, 000 is now N188, 500.
He added that the fees for new intakes in art/social sciences that was fixed for N55, 000 was increased to N183, 500 just as returning students are expected to pay N113, 000 as against N47, 000, the previous fee.
According to him, students accommodation per bed space is now N60, 000 from N20, 000, while the GST handbook sold to students at N1, 500 per copy was increased to N6, 500.
The spokesman said the increment was too much for parents to bear and called on the Federal Government, through the minister of education, to prevail on the vice chancellor to reverse the hike in the fees before he collapses the only federal university in Kogi state.
“The vice chancellor is a civil servant and we expect that he should be aware of the current economic doldrum the people are passing through recently. How can people pay their children school fees with the current increment when sources of income remain stagnated?” He lamented.
Another parent, Madam Florence Anachebi, said: “When the Federal Government established the university few years ago, we were happy, but the current vice chancellor wants to deny us the opportunity to train our children because since he came he has virtually increase all charges and now the school fees.”
Reacting to the protest, the Public Relation Officer of the university, Mr Daniel Iyke, said there has not been any official release of any increase in the university charges.
Iyke pointed out that the Federal Government owing to the current economic situation can not effectively fund education sector, noting that there has been an increase in charges from one university to another. He stressed that if FUL is trying to consider an increase, it would not be totally out of place.
“However, it will be important for parents, students and the public to give us benefit of the doubt and be patient before the official release of any document to that effect before any body can complain,” he pleaded.