Students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Oyo State on Monday protested against the proposed plan by the owner states to increase the tuition fee by 65 and 75 per cent for indigenes and non-indigenes respectively.
The placards carrying students who in their hundreds stormed major streets in Ibadan also called on the governors of Oyo and Osun States, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and Ogbeni Raufu Aregbesola to meet the demanded of the striking workers and improve funding and democratic management of the institution.
They argued that the fee increment was not only anti-poor but also criminal especially against the background that parents were being owed salaries and those being paid hald salaries were the ones expected to provide the funds to run the school.
“We hold that any increment will only deprive many students of the ability to afford tertiary education,” the students argued.
They called on the governors to desist from such disruptive plans, saying “the fee increment, as proposed by Governor Ajimobi at a town hall meeting would raise the fee of the school to about N350,000.”
According to them, despite the decline in the revenue from the federal government, the students opined that “it is not true that the two states did not have enough financial resources at their disposal to have avoided the closure.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Sam Adegbuyi has warned the student against violent strike.
Addressing the students at police headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan, the police boss urged them to seek audience with governors of Oyo and Osun for positive resolution of the matter.
He asked to meet their grievances into writing. According to him, the peace parley with the students was to forestall any break down of law and order.
“It is the misappropriation and financial corruption of both the governments that have led to the inability to pay the workers’ wages, not shortage of funds,” they said.
The students added that the shared funding responsibility on the two states was meant to ensure that the University was appropriately funded, yet the activities of the institution have been brought to an abrupt stop due to poor funding.
The students under the auspices of Save Education and Reopen LAUTECH Coalition (SERAL-C) also rejected the allegedly meeting summoned by Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi with a factional leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) over the lingering closure and industrial dispute that had crippled the entire academic and administrative activities for last seven years.
While dissociating themselves from the meeting, the students said NANS leadership had never had any prior and democratic discussion with the rank and file students of LAUTECH, adding it lacks legitimacy and the outcome of the meeting was not binding on the students.
The students also demanded among others, the immediate and unconditional reopening of LAUTECH, immediate payment of all outstanding salaries and allowances of striking workers and immediate restoration of LAUTECH Students’ Union.