Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM




The attention of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has been drawn to an official release by the university authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, announcing astronomical increase in fees of students. We condemn this callous, unjustifiable and anti-poor increment in fees. This increment was decided without any consideration for students from working class and poor backgrounds. We hereby demand the immediate reversal of the increment while calling on the government to increase funding to public education.

As far as we are concerned, Nigeria is rich enough not only to ensure proper funding of education but also provision of free education at all levels. Hence, we urge students not to accept the increment. Instead they should respond with peaceful mass resistance including lecture boycott, protests and demonstrations. We hereby urge the leadership of the students union not to allow itself to be blackmailed, threatened or hoodwinked to agree to any kobo increment in fees.

From all indications, inflation arising out of recent neoliberal and anti-poor policies of fuel subsidy removal and naira devaluation has thrown many families deeper into the poverty line. In this situation, a 300% increment in fees as announced by the OAU authorities, if successfully implemented will definitely force many students out of school!

It is necessary to clarify that the excuse given by the university management for the increment is untenable. The funding of public education is the responsibility of the government, and such responsibility must not be placed on children of the working masses who are already victims of various anti-poor policies of the government. Also, the university management needs to know that the rising cost of living it is tendering as a major reason for the increment affects students and parents more. This is why the only reasonable alternative is to demand adequate funding from the government.

We of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) call on students to reject this fraudulent and extortionist charges levied on them by the school authorities. The leadership of the union must as a matter of exigency mobilize students for mass resistance. There is a congress of students to take clear position on this increment. We call on the Congress to outright reject it and agree on concrete steps, while subsequent congresses must be summoned to further discuss every progress of the struggle.

We also call on education workers’ unions to join the struggle against this increment in fees. It is our believe that a united struggle of students and workers will be decisive in defeating the university management and ensuring this killer-fees is not forced on students and parents.

Importantly, we reiterate our demand for proper funding of the education sector. This is the only way to stop the malicious act of placing the burden of funding public education at the door step of the suffering masses. The Tinubu-led capitalist government has shown the peak of criminality against the Nigerian masses. When subsidy was removed on all petroleum products, which led to a skyrocketed price of petrol and other products, the government claimed funds from the removed subsidy would be diverted to other social services like education, health care etc. Sadly, the reality today is the opposite, the education sector has been thrown into a tragically  terrible situation, while health care and other social services continue to dive negatively.

We call on the National Association of Nigerian (NANS) to wake up to its historic responsibility and begin a nationwide protest against commercialisation of public education. It is also important for students and  the working masses to begin to organize mass campaign to resist all anti-poor policies and a political alternative to end capitalism and enthrone a Socialist Nigeria.

Ogunjimi Isaac

Deputy National Coordinator

Adaramoye Michael Lenin

National Mobilization Officer

Email: [email protected]