From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
A group under the aegis of Parents of Students of Federal University, Lokoja, have raised the alarm over the proposed hike in the student’s school fees without recourse for the current economic situation in the country.
The group who protests vehemently carrying placards of various inscriptions, said the protest would continue until the management of the university reverse itself over the increment.
The leader of the group Mr Moses Abraham who made the call while addressing newsmen in Lokoja on Tuesday, said the increment in school fees which is almost 300 percent was orchestrated to denied parents and Nigerian masses from acquiring university education for their children.
Reeling the breakdown of the current hike in the students’ fees Abraham explained that the remedial course which has N50,000 as school fees is now N100,000 while fees for new intake student which is formerly N56,000 now moved to N188,500.
He added that the fees for new intake art/social sciences hitherto fixed for N55,000 has been increased to N183,500 just as returning students are expected to pay N113,000 against the former fees of N47,000.
According to him student accommodation per bed space, which was charged for N20,000 before has been hiked by the Vice Chancellor to N60,000 while the GST handbook sold to students at N1,500 per copy now increased to N6,500.
Lamenting further the parents’ 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 expected that he should be aware of the current economic doldrum the people of this country 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 who expressed her feelings over the hike in the fees Madam Florence Anachebi said, “when the federal government established the university few years ago, we were happy, but the current Vice Chancellor want to deny us the opportunity to train our children because since he came, he has virtually increased all charges and now the school fees.”
Reacting to the protest, the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr Daniel Iyke said there has not been any official release of any increase in the University charges.
He pointed out that the federal government due to the current economic situation cannot effectively funded education sector, noting that there has been an increase in charges from one University to another, stressing that if the Federal University Lokoja is trying to consider an increase, it should 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 anybody can complain” he said.