Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

UNILAG: Protest against extortion

UNILAG: Protest against extortion

  • A good response to anti-students policies
By Lateef Adams, Coordinator, ERC, UNILAG

The struggle that broke out on Friday 6th of June on campus as a result of various anti-students policies is commendable. It was a good response to the exploitation of students in the institution has become unbearable to majority of students. We commend the determination of students who braved heavy rain that lasted for several hours to hold the mass demonstration which was triggered by obnoxious charges like increment of late registration fee from N10,000 to N25,000 and charging N5,000 for editing of courses, i.e. to change courses being offered.

We in the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) support the students protest against anti-students policies of commercialization of education and urge students both at UNILAG and any other institution to always rise against unjust attack on students. The series of unbearable charges have been possible because of the undemocratic nature of running universities. This is one of the reasons the ERC have always called for the democratic representation of elected of students as well as staff unions, both academic and non-academic, at every decision making body of universities.

It could be recalled that the ERC issued a press statement recently over a plan fee increment. The university Vice Chancellor of the university Prof Rahmon Bello had at an event called on government to allow universities to charge fees as according to him the government funding is too poor compared to what us expected. This statement negate the struggle of the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) that kept students at home for over six month, one would expect that the success of the struggle that forced the government to inject about N200billion into the education sector would make it unnecessary to the administration to consider to impose unbearable fee on students.

It’s no doubt that the absence of a students’ union on campus has made incessant charges such as the health insurance charge, the weekly increment on the “late registration” fee among others go without any resistance from students. With various plights of students on campus, a central platform of students where such issues could be addressed with aim of immediate intervention is not available. The Council of Faculty Presidents being a creation of the university management has never done anything tangible including calling a congress to address the plight affecting students on campus.

The June 6 protest has shown what struggle can achieve. The management was forced to promise to cancel the charges, refund those that have made payment and open the registration portal for free editing of courses. We however call on students not to relent until all the promises are kept. Besides, to win this struggle against exploitation and extortion by the management we call on students to fight for the following demands:

  •  Full refund to all students that paid for registration of courses
  •  Opening of the portal for students to freely fill and also edit there course form
  •  A stop to compulsory sale textbook or any other material to students
  •  That no students that took part of the protest should be victimize
  •  Reduction of all astronomical fees such as hostel fee and other exploitative charges
  •  Democratic running of the institution through the participation of elected representatives of staff (academic and non-academic) and students in decision making bodies
  •  Reinstatement of an independent, democratic and mass based students union that can defend students interest.
  • We call on students yearning for change in the society as well as quality education in the country to join the ERC. The ERC is an organization committed to a struggle for provision of free and democratically managed public education at all levels and respect for democratic rights in school.