STUDENTS of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, on Friday staged a protest over the alleged increase in school fees by the management of the institution.
The protesters, who were carried placards, accused the university authorities of allegedly hiking the fees by 400 percent to the detriment of the students.
They explained that the fees were increased from the initial N47,000 to N160,000 for some faculties and N200,000 and above for others.
The students noted that the current situation in the country would not guarantee the payment of such an amount.
They, therefore, urged the state government and management of the school to reverse the fees, adding that the students would not want to be lured into crime or prostitution due to the inability of their parents to afford the fees.
One of the students, Ehanire Aisosa, lamented that the increment was in contradiction with the ideals of the founding fathers of the institution, which he said was ‘Education for all’.
Aisosa said, “Before the current administration, the fee was N47,000. But the fee has been increased by 400 percent; we are now paying N160,000 for the Faculty of Social Science, Management N200,000 and above N200,000 for the College of Medicine.
“We do not want this increase. Education is for everybody and not only the rich. They are trying to deprive the poor of education.”
Another student, who identified himself as Eghosa said, “I told my mother about the situation yesterday (Thursday) and she advised me to withdraw and apply for admission in a different university.
“I am tired of the situation and my parents are not financially buoyant. Where do they expect us to see the money? So, they have to reduce it.”
But the Public Relations Officer of the university, Edward Aihevba, dismissed the claim as false.
Aihevba said that though the said increase had been introduced for fresh students by the previous administration, it did not affect other levels of students.
“What they are saying is completely untrue. There has been no increase in school fees. Even the VC, during the inaugural lecture yesterday (Thursday), made a categorical statement that there was no increase in fees,” he told Southern City News on the telephone.
Aihevba added, “Last year, when the management of the former Vice-Chancellor was on, 100 Level students were told that the fees had been increased.
“All students that were in session were to continue to pay the old fees. But those who were coming in had the chance to either accept or reject.