NO TO FEE INCREMENT IN UNIABUJA: We Demand Immediate Reversal!
We Condemn the Victimization of Students’activists and Clampdown on Democratic Rights of Students
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) strongly condemns the obnoxious increment in fees imposed on students by the management of University of Abuja (Uniabuja). We consider this increment as fraudulent and insensitive to the economic plights of children of working class and the poor background. We understand that the Professor N’allah administration is notorious for unjustifiable increment in students fees and clampdown on rights of students to defend their rights.
By Isaac Ogunjimi Deputy National Coordinator, ERC
This increment coming at a critical time even official statistics from government institutions are showing downward movement of the economic condition of ordinary people. It is also clear that this is an attempt to deny children of the working masses access to education. This increment is as high as N100,000 to N250,000 depending on the course. In a country where workers are placed on N30,000 minimum wage and high inflation has eroded incomes of working people, increasing school fees to such an amount is criminal!
Therefore, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) joins students to reject this criminal increment and demand an immediate reversal. We all call on education workers’ unions (ASUU, SSANU, NASU and NAAT) to offer support to the agitations of students against this increment.
This is an attempt to place the burden of funding education on children of the working masses. We hold that it is the responsibility of the government to properly fund the education sector and ensure students have access to quality education. It is important, in this struggle, for students to equally campaign for proper funding of the education sector and the democratic management to ensure that students do not have to bear the burden of funding public education through criminal increment like this.
The ERC condemns the victimization of Oladeru Samson Olamilekan who is the Students’ union Director of Sports and Igwe Cyprian , the Director of Socials. After the university management deceitfully ignored the agreement it reached with the students’ union, it went ahead to clampdown on radical voices on the campus. The university even went to an extreme end of ridicule by manufacturing evidence against the two students and trying to force them to admit to it. It is accusing the two activists of writing an anonymous message calling for protest, something which the two students denied and the management has been unable to find anything against them. The two activists have openly called for reaction against the increment in fees, therefore had no reason to clandestinely call a protest. How is it even a crime to call for a protest? While the public outcry against the ridiculous rustication has forced the management to retract and tag it as an error, the university management is still hellbent on victimizing these two activists as a way of silencing any agitation against the unjustifiable fee increment. We urge students not to be intimidated by this antics of the N’allah led university management, but begin to organise and resist the increment and the victimization of activists. A well-coordinated and steadfast struggle of students with solidarity of workers can defeat the university management!
Therefore, we again call on the education workers’ unions – ASUU, NASU, SSANU, NAAT- to give solidarity to the struggle of students against increment in fees and victimization of student activists.
Meanwhile, it is obvious that the negotiation the students’ union had with the university management bore no good fruit. So, we urge the students’ union to call a congress of students for students to democratically map out how to prosecute their struggle. Victory cannot be won if students are mere spectators in their struggle!