Nigeria: Again, Another Nigerian University Announces Fee Hike

14 September 2023

Mr Tinubu had in a short statement in July directed the federal government-owned tertiary institutions against arbitrary increases in fees payable.

Despite President Bola Tinubu's directive that Nigerian public universities should desist from increasing the fees payable by students arbitrarily, the management of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, on Wednesday, announced the increment of fees payable by students.

Mr Tinubu had in a short statement in July directed the federal government-owned tertiary institutions against arbitrary increases in fees payable, insisting tuition remains free in the institutions.

"President Tinubu has directed the authorities in all Federal Institutions of higher learning to avoid arbitrary increase in sundry fees payable, and where possible defer further increases, so that parents and students don't face too many difficulties," the government posted on Twitter (now X) microblogging platform.

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Andrew Adejo, recently said the ministry had stopped approving fee-increment after President Tinubu's directive.

"The only university that increased charges after the signing of the Student Loans Act is the University of Lagos. They came to the ministry with a proposal to Increase their charges because all governing councils were dissolved and we gave them approval," Mr Adejo said in August when he appeared before the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives on the implementation of the student loan law.

He said; "...There was a resolution from the House stopping the increase of fees and the president also gave a directive stopping any increase in fees and that is where it is, even though several others have brought their proposals."

OAU's fees

On Wednesday, a statement by the Public Relations Officer of OAU, Abiodun Olarewaju, announced the new fees, noting that the university adopted the adjustments at an emergency Senate meeting on Tuesday.

According to the release, fresh students in the faculties of Arts, Law and Humanities, will now pay N151,200 while returning students of the same faculties will pay N89,200.

The university added that fresh students in the faculties of Technology and Science will now pay N163,200 while the returning students of the same faculties are to pay N101,200.

Meanwhile, fresh students of the faculties in the College of Health Sciences, and Pharmacy are to pay N190,200 and N128,200 for returning students.

"The authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, have adjusted the fees that students of the institution would be paying," part of the statement read.

"The decision was taken by the Senate of the University at its emergency meeting on Tuesday, 12th September 2023. The management, therefore, wishes the students resounding success in their academic programmes."

Established trend

The fee hike, which has become an established trend among Nigerian public universities, is leading to outrage among students.

Some of the public universities that recently increased school fees include the University of Maiduguri, the University of Benin, Ahmadu Bello University, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, the University of Lagos and the University of Abuja.

Students and parents are lamenting the development, especially due to the rising prices of commodity goods as a result of the removal of petrol subsidy by the Nigerian government in May.

Students of the University of Lagos staged another protest on Wednesday, demanding a reversal of the increment. Students of the University of Jos also took to their school entrance, on Tuesday, chanting solidarity songs and carrying placards to protest the fee hike in their school.

The university administrators lamented that the hike in fees became necessary due to the increasing cost of maintaining the schools and keeping staff motivated.

For instance, the UNILAG Vice Chancellor, Folasade Ogunsola, a professor, told PREMIUM TIMES in an earlier interview that the old fees regime is no longer sustainable as the university continues to incur increasing expenses leading to revenue deficits of about N1 billion annually.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Abdulrasheed Na'Allah, also said in May that the fee increment was a result of inflation, the high cost of maintaining the institution's facilities and delivering world-class education.

"These charges being introduced reflect the serious national inflation and the UofA's determination that our students cannot and must not receive second-class education," he said.

Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe

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