From: Tony Osauzo, Benin
Two students of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) were reportedly injured, on Tuesday, following a clash between post-graduate students and security operatives of the institution.
The post-graduate students were reportedly protesting the introduction of what they termed ‘payment of oral defence fees (External examiner fees)’ by the school management before they could be allowed to defend their projects.
Informed sources at the University told Daily Sun that the fees were introduced by the management to shore up internal revenue of the institution.
The project defence or examiners’ fees showed that Doctor of Philosophy (Phd) students are to pay N90, 000, Masters of Science (MSc) students are to pay N60, 000 while Post-graduate Diploma students are to pay N30,000.
The protesting students, who reportedly gathered at the school gate, were said to have barricaded the entrance. This, it was gathered, made the school’s security operatives to swoop on them. In the melee, two of the students were reportedly injured and taken to the school clinic for medical attention.
The students were said to have been angered by management insistence that they would not defend their thesis and get their results without payment of the fees.
In their protest letter, the students claimed that the new levy was not captured in the school financial requirement during the admission process, adding that besides, the levy was to be paid into a UNIBEN Cooperative account instead of Remita (TSA).
They alleged that some departmental officials were already demanding for bribe from them ‘with the promise to help them circumvent the external levy fees’.
“What they are calling oral defence fee or Proposal Defence fee is for us to pay external examiners to look at our thesis.
“We staged a protest two weeks ago and part of the recommendation was for the management to make new applicants pay. We gave them two weeks ultimatum to revert the decision.
“The two weeks elapsed and we decided to stage this protest. We want to collect our results and go. The school security had a clash with us and some students were injured”, one of the protesting students who pleaded anonymity told journalists yesterday.
Reacting to the protest, spokesman for the institution, Mr. Michael Osasuyi, said the new levy was approved by the institution’s Governing Council and that management only carried out directive of the Council.
He explained that some of the post-graduate students have complied and paid but others are resisting payment, adding that the levy was to enable the post-graduate programmes run smoothly without hitches.
Osasuyi stated that those that failed to pay were not ready to defend their thesis and graduate from the institution.