Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
The management of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) has defended its recent review of the institution’s medical and acceptance fees. It also took issue with the National Association of Nigerian Students’ (NANS) notice to disrupt academic activities at its twin campuses to protest the new fees.
The FUOYE management recalled that NANS president Akpan Bamidele had recently, at a peace meeting with Vice Chancellor Prof. Kayode Soremekun, following the bloody protest of September 10, praised the VC and management for maintaining a cordial and caring relationship with students.
Speaking with reporters on behalf of management, FUOYE spokesman Godfrey Bakji said: “FUOYE hasn’t put up any significant increment of fees, except for medical and acceptance fees for justifiable causes. Our medical fees now has to be N10,000, while the acceptance fee is now N50,000.
“As to whether we can cope with a lower acceptance fee because we are a federal university, this is not true, because the University met many uncompleted projects and we have had to complete them from our meagre resources. Examples include the Central Administration [building], [and] Laboratory, [for which] we were given only half the sum by government. There is also the newly completed hostel and the Engineering Workshop in Ikole, among other projects,” he explained.
“There are so many developmental projects going on in the two campuses of FUOYE, and whatever we do in Oye we have to repeat them in Ikole. Previously, we usually have all our 100 level students in Oye, but now because of security and convenience of students, we have moved the first year students in faculties of Engineering and Agriculture to Ikole campus, and this means that so many facilities that we already have in Oye campus such as the large lecture theatres, the sports complex, other lecture rooms, offices and others, have to be repeated in Ikole campus. To do all these projects, we need money. But even at that, there hasn’t been any significant increment in our fees, except in some faculties and departments where some special fees have been suggested for practical workshops.”
The school spokesman pointed to what he said “is currently obtainable in other universities. Acceptance fees in Ekiti State University (EKSU), for instance, is currently N57,000 generally for their students. For medical and engineering students, EKSU acceptance fees is over N100,000, currently. Ours is not even near such amount.
“Besides, on a daily basis, we have to expend more money in managing the university and getting so many projects done as demanded by our students. We put on the generator as early as 6am and put them off at 10pm on daily basis and we all know the cost of diesel.
“Apart from acceptance fee and medical fees that we have found so imperative to increase, we haven’t increased any fees outside what has been on ground. Any fees that is likely to be extra are fees at the department and faculty levels which have been suggested for practical workshops,” he said.
Explaining further the review of medical fees, Bajki said: “The medical fees were supposed to have been increased since last session, because we had since then discovered that for a comprehensive medical check up, including packed cell volume, genotype, blood grouping, urinalysis, toxicology test, refraction (eye test), breast examination and chest xray among others, the charges for each students should even be N15,000, but the University has made efforts to subsidise the medical fees because, as we can all find out, things have generally become costly compared to what was obtainable one or more years before.
“Again, on acceptance fees, we were shocked to learn that in a first generation university, over 70 percent of those admitted in a particular year had fake credentials. So, what to do is to prevent a repeat on our own campus. We contacted a professional verifier who charges N10,000 per student so as to prevent this scourge. And that is why you can see that in our last screening exercise for prospective students, we have already put in place mechanisms to prevent candidates with fake credentials from coming in. Thus far, the outcomes have been mindboggling.
“The figures are not looking good at all in terms of what is being spent to maintain the hostels and what the students pay. And as if to indicate the mischief in the write-up, reference was made to the last protest by the students. Even the students themselves implicitly acknowledged that the University continues to do its best in the area of power supply. And, according to them, their problem is with the BEDC which didn’t provide power to the University towns of Oye and Ikole.
“While efforts have been made to contain epileptic power supply on campus, which has been a very costly venture in the two campuses, the towns of Oye and Ikole remain unattended to, hence the students’ protest.
As l talk to you, most of the roads on the two campuses remain untarred. And the government, in view of its various commitments, is not forthcoming at least for now. So, the burden also falls on the University. Only the Ekiti State Government has come forth by awarding a contract to take care of 500 metres on one campus, and we are very grateful for this.
“Meanwhile, there is the deficit of around 20 kilometers to take care of. This burden again has to be borne by the University, and as such the very pertinent and compelling question is, where will the money come from?
“So, while we acknowledge the public spiritedness of our critics…they will always do well to dwell on the larger picture and reality which the University has to contend with,” he said.