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UNILAG Students Gear Up for September 6 Protest Against School Fees Hike

In response to the recent surge in tuition fees imposed by the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the Students Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike has announced its intention to stage a large-scale protest, scheduled to commence on September 6, 2023. The advocacy group, represented by spokespersons Tosin Solanke and Abayomi Godwin, issued a statement through The PUNCH on Saturday, asserting that the move to raise fees had compelled them to bring attention to the adverse consequences faced by students, parents, civil society organizations, and informal workers.UNILAG’s management, on July 21, 2023, unveiled a substantial increase in the tuition fees for its undergraduate students, citing the prevailing economic circumstances as the rationale. Notably, the new fee structure set the tuition for medical students at N190,250 and for programs necessitating laboratory and studio usage at N140,250—a sharp contrast to the previous fee of N19,000.In a bid to underscore their concerns, a faction of the student group convened near the Arise TV Complex after traversing through the Ikoyi and Falomo areas of Lagos. Their objective was to raise awareness among passersby regarding the escalating trend of fee hikes within various academic institutions. They drew attention to the UNILAG management’s failure to engage with the student representatives on the matter.The Students Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike expressed, “Since the announcement of the fee hike by the UNILAG management, we have undertaken a series of initiatives aimed at enlightening the public about the potential perils of this policy, particularly for the less privileged. We contend that the responsibility of financing public education should not be shifted to economically challenged students and parents, especially in the current trying economic climate.”The group further criticized the university’s management for its perceived authoritarian decision-making and lack of consideration for economic constraints. Additionally, they noted the university’s failure to reconvene a meeting with the student delegation after weeks of anticipation.In response to inquiries, UNILAG spokesperson Adejoke Alaga-Ibraheem requested written communication, which remained unanswered at the time of press.Addressing the matter of affordability, the Students Solidarity Group emphasized, “Even our educators, some of whom are postgraduate students and sponsors of fellow students, find these escalated fees unmanageable.” Promising an extensive and sustained protest, the group vowed to persist until the fee hikes are reversed.The National Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Giwa Temitope, welcomed the students’ planned protest, viewing it as a commendable step. Temitope expressed that the current economic hardship makes the fee increases untenable, particularly for parents with multiple children attending higher education institutions.On July 31, 2023, President Bola Tinubu intervened by urging federal higher learning institutions to avoid arbitrary fee hikes and, where possible, postpone any further increases to alleviate the burden on parents and students.


Ademola Adeyemi

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