Following the last week announcement of increment of hostel accommodation fee by the University of Ibadan (UI) Governing Council, hundreds of parents, students and other stakeholders who stormed Trenchard Hall for the stakeholders meeting on the proposed accommodation fees and training fees increment for medical students have rejected the increment.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Idowu Olayinka in his presentation while speaking on the need for the increment, told the gathering that the increment was necessary due to the present state of the institution.
But the parents as well as students who were present in the hall and outside the hall vehemently rejected the proposed increment as they called for the reversal with immediate effect.
They argued that the university should rescind its decision due to the current economic situation which is making the existing fees unaffordable for some parents and indigent students.
It could be recalled that students of the institution had last Thursday embarked on a protest against the 114 per cent increment in the accommodation fees which was increased from N14,000 to N30,000 while medical students are, however, expected to pay N40, 000.
The school authority in a bid to forestall breakdown of laws and order, however, on Saturday ordered with immediate effect, the closure of the Medical students Hall of residence.
Medical students who were the most affected in resistance to the purported increment on Sunday embarked on sit out protest against what they termed as injustice to them and their parents by the Senate of the university.
Some of the parents who spoke one after the other during the meeting on Tuesday in their arguments maintained that the meeting which came more than a week after the proposed fees was announcement was like “putting a cart before the horse.”
One of the parents, Mr. Fashina Olusegun while rejecting the increment said it was unfortunate that the university is coming with the new fees without considering the present economic situation in the country.
Another parent who introduced himself as Elder M.O. Oduronbi while rejecting the proposed increments declared the purpose of sending their wards to public institutions would have been defeated if the new fees are effected.
Oduronbi while speaking explained that many of them who are either government workers or retirees are finding it difficult to pay the existing fees talk less of the proposed one. He said many of them decided to send their children to public universities because they could not afford to pay in private universities.
While moving a motion for the reversal of the fees, Oduronbi asserted that the university management is also aware that the new minimum wage has not changed from N18,000, hence, the university should not task them the money that they will not be able to pay in line with the current worker’s wages.
According to him, “We can’t train our children in private universities that is why we brought them here, minimum wage is still N18,000, but at the same time, this meeting should have come before now. It is like putting the cart before the horse.
“What we are saying is that if this must be done, it suppose to be gradual. The new fees is from N14,000 to N30,000, what percentage is that, it is not fair. What I am saying is that, it should be reversed. And after that, another meeting will be called where we will now decide. Senate cannot decide for us. I am now moving a motion for the reversal of the fees. Anyone who is seconded should raise his hand.”
Another parent, Mr. Umeh Reuben while narrating his ordeal said if the new fees is effected it will affect his three children who are in the institution because he could not afford to pay the fees.
Another angry parent who said he came to the meeting with a bathroom slippers noted that the rationale behind his coming in ordinary slippers was to show “the state of the nation”.
“Apart from the accommodation fess, there are other issues on ground, why will you charge N35,000 as acceptance fees? The acceptance fees of N35,000 by the university is wrong. Fingers are not equal. I have to come here with slippers and my wife said why, I told her is to show the state of the nation. Let it be gradual. As you can see my, I am a member of Senior Applicants of Nigeria (SAN).
One of the students, Boluwatife Ajijola, a former Hall Chairman, while speaking, maintained that there is no reason for such increment because the institution had failed them severally, alleging that it is not the type of the students identity card that they paid for, that the institution issued for them.
Ajijola while rejecting the increment also alleged that many will be surprised that the money will not be used for the purpose for which it was meant for.
Other students in their own explanations while protesting against the increment outside the hall, argued that some of them are even finding it difficult to pay the existing fees.