Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Students of Ondo State Government-owned Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), on Monday, took to the streets in Akure, the state capital, to protest against the sudden hike in their tuition fees.
The students numbering over 1,000 barricaded major roads in the state capital, thereby preventing vehicular and human movements for several hours.
The protest also affected social and commercial activities in many parts of the town, as many shop owners hurriedly locked up even as commercial drivers boycotted the roads.
The students who converged on the Oja Oba junction in the heart of Akure, condemned the sudden hike in their tuition fees from N25,000 to N180,000, alleging that the action of the state government was against the economic realities in the state.
The protesters also took their demonstration to major areas in the town including Adegbola, Fiwasaye, Cathedral and Adegbemile, among others chanting various anti-government songs with placards in their hands.
The students, who were led on the protest by chairman National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Ondo axis, Adewumi Adebowale, insisted that the students would not pay the new tuition.
Adebowale, who addressed the protesters, said the new tuition introduced in the university by Rotimi Akeredolu’s government was not only outrageous but also murderous, stressing that the students would do everything to resist the hike.
He urged the students not to resume academic activities scheduled for Tuesday unless the state government or the university’s management, reversed the decision.
Also speaking, President, Students Union Government (SUG) of the university, Mr. Ijanusi Olawale, said no student of the university would pay the new tuition, just as he warned the state government against any act that could turn the students against it.
He declared that the university would not be opened for academic session unless the state government reversed to the old tuition, saying that the new tuition could be afforded by their parents.
“The students should remain calm and refuse to pay any money or resume until they hear from the leadership of the SUG. We stayed home for three months, so, staying home for another one week will not affect us. They should not resume and also not pay any school fee. We want at most a 30 percent increase in our tuition,’ he stressed.
But the state government, in its reaction to the protest, said the present administration inherited serious crisis in the university and doing everything to ensure peace in the institution.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, said the state government did not increase the tuition to N180,000 as being speculated, stressing that the students of the university could not continue to pay N30,000 as tuition fee with the present economic reality in the country.
He said “The Governing Council of the university looked at the fees paid by students in the state University of science and Technology.