Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Thousands of students of the Benue State University (BSU) on Monday thronged out to protest what they described as the arbitrary increase in school fees by the management of the institution led by Vice Chancellor Prof. Msugh Kembe.
The aggrieved students barricaded the main entrance of the university, popularly known as first gate, preventing the inflow and outflow of both vehicular and human traffic into the campus.
Security operatives manning the main gate of the University were also displaced, with pupils of the BSU Staff School, located within the premises of the institution, prevented from gaining entrance into their school.
The situation also obstructed the free flow of traffic on the ever busy Makurdi/Gboko Highway, until heavily armed policemen stormed the area to ensure peace and order.
Some of the visibly angry protesting students described as wicked the decision of the institution’s management to increase school fees by almost 100%, despite the unfavorable economic situation in the state and the country at large.
One student, who did not want his named in print, disclosed that tuition fees for indigenous students were increased from N56,000 to N92,000, while fees for non-indigenes have also sky-rocketed.
“How can the institution just wake up one day and increase school fees anyhow without taking its students and their parents into consideration? Besides, this increment is too much for us to bear. They have to do something about it because the increment is just too much,” the student complained.
But reacting swiftly, the management of the institution in a statement signed by acting Registrar, Mrs. Catherine Bur, warned the protesters, who were described as “miscreants parading as students,” to vacate the gate in their own interest, as management will not hesitate to avail itself of lawful means to deal with the situation.
“It has come to the attention of Management of Benue State University that some group of miscreants, parading themselves as students of the University, in the early hours of Monday 21st May 2018, took over, locked up and displaced the security manning the main gate of the University, bringing to a halt the inflow and outflow of human and vehicular traffic into the University including Nursery and Primary School pupils for reasons yet to be ascertained.
“This action is particularly worrisome in view of the fact that the University is scheduled to commence accreditation of programmes by the National Universities Commission from Monday, 21st May 2018.”
It should be noted that the University is yet to conduct election into the leadership of the Student Union since the expiration of the tenure of the immediate past Executive Committee. Consequently, the University does not have any Student Union leadership currently.
While urging parents and guardians to restrain their wards from actions capable of breaching the peace on campus, Bur maintained that no student had engaged Management on any grievances whatsoever.
The University, however, advised all bonafide students of the institution to go about their registration and other normal academic activities as the First Semester of the 2017/2018 academic session has commenced in earnest.