President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, directed the authorities in all federal institutions of higher learning to avoid arbitrary increase in sundry fees payable and where possible defer further increase so that parents and students don’t face too much difficulty.
While the National Association of Nigerian(NAN) Students welcomed the directive, the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) however, expressed reservations.
The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, also approved the provision of buses to the students’ bodies of all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education across the country.
The directive comes barely five days after the Presidency insisted that federal universities remain tuition-free, despite the hike in miscellaneous fees in several universities nationwide.
Alake said this was based on Tinubu’s “desire to see that students can access their campuses without much difficulty as a result of higher transportation costs.”
“In line with his promise to ensure no Nigerian student abandons his or her educational pursuits as a result of lack of money and economic circumstances of their parents, President Tinubu has also approved the removal of all restrictions on the students’ loan to make it available to any student or household that may desire it,” the statement read.
Reacting, the Vice-President, NANS, Akinteye Afeez, said: “We are happy with the development. We have now been given the opportunity to shut down any school that increases school fees again or that refuses to go back to the status quo.”
But Chairman, ASUU, the University of Lagos, Prof. Kayode Adebayo, said stopping the fee hike by the president was not the solution to the universities’ problem.
He maintained that universities across the country were not funded by FG, adding that Tinubu was supposed to announce the financial subventions that would be given to universities.
“I can’t say there is Eldorado in the announcement because it does not add up, what will be the fate of the universities; if you say they should not charge mandatory fees yet you didn’t plan to send any subventions for the running of the universities.
“The reason for the mandatory charges was that universities do not receive anything from the Federal Government to run the system.”