UNILAG denies further increase in tuition as schools hike fees; Nigerian govt insists universities still tuition-free

Authorities at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) have denied allegations that the institution increased fees further without authorization.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, stated that although tuition at UNILAG had not changed in the previous 20 years, “the cost of managing education had skyrocketed astronomically” at the time the university raised tuition last month.

However, in a statement released by the university on Friday and signed by Adejoke Alaga-Ibraheem, the institution’s head of communication, the university referred to claims that it had added fresh charges to its earlier increment as ‘untrue and misleading’.

Recall many Nigerian universities owned by the federal government have, in the past few months, increased fees to be paid by students, leaving parents and their wards groaning.

The Nigerian government has said the federal government-owned universities remain tuition-free, describing as inaccurate the media reports suggesting the introduction of tuition by the institutions.

Dele Alake, the former spokesman to the president said in a statement that despite the increments in fees, students are not made to pay for tuition.

“The fact remains, and we have confirmed that these are discretionary charges by each university for hostel accommodation, registration, laboratory and other charges. They are not tuition fees,” he said in a statement.

“For the avoidance of doubt, federal universities in Nigeria remain tuition-free.”

He said President Bola Tinubu remains committed to ensuring that every Nigerian has access to quality tertiary education.

He said the Students’ Loans Act, recently signed by Mr Tinubu, will go into effect before September.

“The Federal Government will also strengthen other mechanisms to support indigent students,” he said.

Earlier, lawmakers in the lower chamber of the national assembly had asked for its suspension saying the increase in fees could cause disruptions for students who cannot afford them and that while many may be forced to defer their studies, others could drop out of school.

This resolution was reached following a motion by Aliyu Madaki (NNPP, Kano) during plenary.

Mr Madaki, in his motion, said some universities had increased fees by over 200 per cent and equally increased accommodation fees by 100 per cent. He noted that the increments are coming at a time when households in Nigeria are battling with high inflation and other economic challenges.

According to him, schools like the Bayero University, Kano (BUK), the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the University of Uyo, the University of Maiduguri, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike and Federal University, Dutse have all increased their fees.

“The increase could cause disruptions for a number of students who can not afford the fees, and while many of them would be forced to defer their studies, others could drop out.

“The hike may aggravate the already volatile situation in the country as students are already making threats which could lead to an uprising against the federal government, with grievous consequences for the country as a whole,” he said.

Consequently, the House resolved that the National Universities Commission (NUC) should immediately halt the implementation of the increment of fees by federal universities.

Though the increment by some of these institutions predated President Bola Tinubu-led administration, many Nigerians have linked the decisions to the removal of subsidy on petroleum products.

This is coming when the petrol subsidy removal has increased the price of commodities in the country.

The development has also pitted many Nigerians against the government, accusing it of insensitivity.

 

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