From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Commercial activities were yesterday grounded and commuters stranded for several hours as hundreds of angry students of the University of Benin took to the streets to protest alleged incessant charges for late payment of school fees.
The protesters blocked the main gate of the Ugbowo and Ekhehuan campuses of the University, a situation that caused long queues of vehicles along the ever-busy Benin-Lagos highway and Ekhehuan road in the city centre.
It was learnt that the University management had fixed September 3, 2021 as deadline for payment of school fees with a warning that students who failed to pay within the stipulated date would be surcharge a penalty fee of N10,000 for late payment.
The protest was however said to have been triggered the University management’s decision to increase the penalty fee to N20,000 with a threat to defaulting students to either pay up before next week Saturday or lose their admission.
But, the protesting students argued that the increment is coming just one week after their resumption, insisting that late payment of school fees is supposed to commence in the 2nd Semester and not the 1st Semester.
They further argued that some 100 level students have not even been cleared, meaning that they will not be able to pay their school fees until after clearance.
Some of the students told newsmen that while they were yet to pay the first penalty of N10,000, the school authority added another N10,000 to it.
The protesting students who carried placards bearing various inscriptions played solidarity songs with public address sound system.
A the Ekhehuan campus, a student said they were protesting the an additional twenty thousand naira (N20,000) to their school fees within two weeks when the portal was opened, adding that same portal had been frequently down thereby denying those who wanted to pay access. According to her, when the portal was opened, they were giving till September 3 to pay up their fees with the warning that any payment after the date would attract additional N10,000.