A joint operation of the Nigerian security operatives had on Monday disrupted a peaceful protest held by students of the University of Abuja over an increase in tuition fees and unwarranted closure of their portals by the school authorities.
According to students and eyewitnesses on the scene, they had initiated a peaceful protest at the early hours of 9am at the main gate of the campus and waited endlesslessly to be addressed by the vice-chancellor over their demands.
At about 2: 58, they saw the joint emergence of the police and the soldiers wading in with full-blown force to disperse them at the scene.
Students of University of Abuja Monday protested over what they described as ‘injustice’ to them by the university’s authority.
The students barricaded the entrance to the university’s permanent, saying that their demands – the opening of school Portal, review of school fees, allowing students to pay their fees without having to write to the registrar, and postponement of their Semester exam scheduled to hold from February 15th to March 8th – must be met.
Speaking with a member of the Student Representative Assembly, Hon. Igbogozi Prince said the increment in fees was announced at the early start of the session last year, and they had agreed to pay before the event of the pandemic which had taken a heavy toll on students.
“Last year, when the fee was increased last year which was twice the amount we usually pay. We met with the VC and eventually agreed to pay the hiked fee since he is a digital VC, and we can see the infrastructures that he has put in place. But coronavirus came in and everyone had to go home. Resuming now, we heard that those who could not pay their fees last year can no longer pay. They were told to come back in the next academic session which implies an automatic carryover for the extra year the pandemic has already given to us. That aside.
“Before we know it again, we saw an estimated fee of N5000 for pick and drop-some of us who were able to pay our fees, could not register our courses. Like me now, I could not upload my courses and now I have to pay N5000.
“On the other hand, students were told to resume in batches. Some were told to resume today, while others will have to resume on Feb 8. How will someone who hasn’t had access to his/her books, or would be resuming next week sit for the scheduled exam on Feb 15th?
“We met with the VC and pleaded with him to address all of these issues but nothing came out of it.”