UNIBEN SUSPENDS TUITION FEE HIKE AFTER TWO-DAY PROTEST

The University of Benin (UNIBEN) has suspended the planned hike in its tuition fees after a two-day protest.

On Tuesday, undergraduates at the Edo varsity had blocked off its gate to protest an increase in their school fees.

Lectures and other academic activities within the campus had been stalled as a deluge of students held up placards.

Some protesters in the institution had lamented that the school authorities increased the fees for science students from N45,400 to N65,400 and that of art-related courses from N41,400 to N61,400.

It was gathered that the varsity, which resumed on August 16, gave a two-week deadline for payment while fixing a fine of up to N20,000 as the payment to be made if students didn’t meet their financial obligations as at when due.

On Wednesday, Lilian Salami, the UNIBEN vice-chancellor (VC), had shut the campus as the protest persisted.

Sources who spoke to TheCable Lifestyle on Thursday said the students had marched to the VC’s office and ensured she trekked to the university’s main gate to address them after defying her order to vacate the hostels on the campus.

“She was in her car; students started climbing it. She got out, trekked to the gate, and asked what we wanted. She agreed [dismissively] that the N20,000 would be removed. We warned we wouldn’t resume class,” a student told TheCable Lifestyle.

She was also said to have agreed to remove the N20,000 late payment charge.

“We demanded that the PRO be sacked for arguing with protesters that education is a privilege, not a right. We also asked that the dean be relieved of his duties for physically confronting the protesters. The VC agreed dismissively.

“The N20,000 fine on the school portal was removed yesterday evening. No one is going to lectures until our demands are met. The VC earlier had our electricity turned off for refusing to vacate the hostel as she ordered.

“But we marched en mass to her office and that of the dean to turn off their water and power supply in retaliation.”

Videos showed the VC wading through a deluge of students but she didn’t declare the official stance of the varsity.

None of the varsity’s top officials were available for comments on Thursday when contacted to react on the matter.

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