ERC Calls for Reversal of the Hiked Tuition Fee for the Newly Admitted LASUITES
We Demand Immediate Students Union Congress to Make Informed Decision Following the Expiration of the 14days Ultimatum Earlier Issued by the Students Union on the 8th of January, 2021 at the Union Press briefing.
And to Clear Doubt about the integrity of the Students Union President and Speaker as to Whether or Not They Both Have Been Paid to Compromise Union on the fee reversal struggle.
And to Commence Preparation for the Struggle to Merge the Stream One and Two into One Uniform Programme and Fee in LASU.
ERC LASU supports the call by LASUITES for reversal of the hiked tuition fee for the newly admitted students. We say this demand is in order and in the best interest of Nigerian Students particularly residents of Lagos State, whose right to access quality and affordable public education is being deprived with the fee hike policy of the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University. The Students Union must now translate words into action by doing everything possible to achieve the fee reversal struggle it has launched.
We hereby demand the convening of a Student Union Congress at a time like this, to take informed decision on how best to achieve the fee reversal struggle for the newly admitted students particularly after the expiration of the 14 days Ultimatum earlier issued by the Union on the 8th day of January, 2021. We make this demand believing that the Congress would give more power to the Students Union decision and it will prepare the mind of students who are the army of the Union ahead for the struggle.
Also, we believe with consistent coordinated campaign and mass actions, it is possible to win the fee reversal struggle under the present Students Union leadership led by Comrade Ashade AbdulBasit OBS. This is against the insinuation in some quarters that the affected students should be the ones to struggle, as that was the case during the last fee reversal struggle that lasted in 2014. Truly, the fee was last hiked in 2011, with the same pattern that it only affected the newly admitted students and it was when the affected students got to 300l and after the attendant consequences which trailed the hiked fee that the affected students led by one of them Comrade Nurudeen Temilola Yusuf, the then Students Union president, won the fee reversal struggle in 2014.
As a group, we believe it is best to struggle now than to wait for the attendant consequences of the fee hike just like in 2014 because the hardship in the year 2021 as a resultant effect of the pandemic is even worse than that of year 2011. What this means is that more and more people have lost their economic power and it will be difficult to afford the new fee schedule. As a group, we believe the rights of all to access quality and affordable education should be protected. Therefore, if we struggle we may win and if we don’t win now, we must prepare programmes that will keep the campaign alive and pass on the baton of struggle to the generation coming after us.
We also believe a Students Union Congress is necessary for the Students Union Leaders to clear the air at this period. The Management in their press release following the action of students on the 8th of January, 2021, under paragraph four (4) stated that “All Stakeholders – Staffs, Students Union, and the State Government were duly carried along before the implementation of the new schedule of fees”. In addition to this, we equally saw an anonymous statement issued by a person considered to be an insider of the union president, alleging that money exchanged hands between the President and Speaker and Management to compromise the Union.
By these developments, we are forced to be in doubt of the integrity of the Union President and Speaker superintending over the affairs of the Union. This is because, just like they quickly debunked the anonymous statement, we had expected them to equally respond the claim of the management, that is if this claim is not true. We believe that whether or not the President and Speaker of the Students Union were in their minority among the committee that proposed the new schedule of fees, as long as they did not consent to the committee’s proposal, it provides them a basis to reject the decision of the committee. This is because, as long as the representatives of the major stakeholders who the committee’s decision will affect were not in agreement with the committee’s proposal, the committee’s decision cannot stand unless the authorities want to force it on students which will cause conflict. This is what we believe the position of the Students Union should be and that is why the Students’ Union’s silence on the paragraph four is no longer golden and it could mean compromise. Therefore, the Students Union President and Speaker must react to the paragraph 4 and call a Congress to clear the air about their integrity and reassure Lasuites of their willingness to pursue the fee reversal struggle until victory is achieved.
We believe, alongside with the struggle for fee reversal, we must situate with it the struggle to unite all Lasuites into a uniform programme and fee. This disparity of fees among students studying the same course, using the same facilities, infrastructures and teaching faculties on the basis of additional certification in entrepreneurship course is exploitative and taking advantage of the over subscription of LASU admission spaces. Entrepreneurship is already a part of the normal programme curriculum and there is no need for duplication of programme except to commercialized education. We urge the Union to demand merger of stream 1 and stream 2 alongside proper funding and democratic management of education by the state government as the only alternative to fee hike policy. We also urge the Students Union to also demand the immediate reinstatement of all victimized students and staff leaders. This includes about five principal officials of ASUU-LASU and a student activist, comrade Yusuf Nurudeen Omomewa whose certificate is still being withheld after graduation. Just as the ERC had always warned, all these activists were falsely accused by the university administration of the outgone Vice Chancellor, Prof. Fagbohun, in order to prepare the ground and ensure there would be no viable opposition against it when it eventually increased tuition fees. We call on the mass of students to use the opportunity of this struggle to also call for the recall of the 5 ASUU-LASU leaders, release of Omomewa’s certificate and reversal of all victimization against any student and staff activists.
We call on Lasuites to join us as we prevail on our students union leaders to carry out their historical duties of defending the rights of students to access quality and affordable in Lagos and Nigeria. We are equally open to work with the Students Union Leadership to fulfil this historical task. We are all together in this.
Dare to Struggle
Dare to Win. ✊🏼
Comrade Temmy for ERC LASU