Open University Students, Police Clash Over Fees Hike Protest
Students of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) yesterday staged a huge demonstration to protest a sudden and significant hike in their fees, but did not go far as they met with still resistant from operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) anti-riot squad.
The truncated protest which was scheduled to terminate at the office of the Governor of Lagos State, on the Marina, Lagos, ended at Backley Street, Obalende.
Some of the protesting students said they were infuriated by a decision by NOUN’s administration to jerk up tuition fees from N58, 000 to N115, 000.
The students had earlier demonstrated on Wednesday at NOUN’s study center in Benin City, capital of Edo State. They carried placards and sang protest songs demanding an immediate reversal to the old fees. The aborted Lagos protest was to be a followed-up to the Benin City one.
Several students who spoke to our correspondent, contended that there was no justification for the increased fees. They vowed to oppose it until the school administration returned to the former fees.
Two of the students however disclosed that their colleagues at the Lagos campus were organizing to commence demonstrations as well, adding that protests would continue at the Benin center.
Students at Lagos State University (LASU) are still protesting increased fees at their institution. The state government hiked fees from N25, 000 to between N250, 000 and N350, 000.
In reaction to the protests, the Lagos State government recently announced token percentage reductions, but the students have rejected the gesture, saying they were determined to continue with their protests.
Also, students at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife have continued to resist a vacation order from the campus after they protested against a sudden increase in fees.
Describing the increase as “outrageous and irrational,” the students voiced their resolve to continue their protests despite verbal threats by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bamitale Omole who has threatened to proscribe the students’ union and is accused of working to victimize its leaders.