The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has been urged to demand the immediate reversal of recent fee increases in the nation’s tertiary institutions by a group of University of Lagos students and ex-students operating under the banner of Students Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike.
The student body said it was concerned by the increase in fees across Nigerian universities and other institutions of higher learning despite the prevailing economic downturn occasioned by the recent removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol and devaluation of the naira.
The group made the request in a statement signed by Ridwan Ajayi that was released on Monday and was titled: “NLC Must Demand Immediate Reversal of Recent Fee Hike in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions.”
Part of the statement read, “The Students Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike calls upon the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to address the pressing issue of the recent astronomical, illogical, unconscionable, economically inconsiderate fee hike in tertiary institutions in Nigeria during their meeting with the Federal Government today.
“This sudden fee hike has placed an unbearable financial burden on students and their poor families, jeopardizing their access to quality education and their prospects.
“We firmly believe that education is a fundamental right and should be accessible to all, regardless of their socio-economic background.
“The recent fee hikes have created a barrier to higher education for many talented and deserving young Nigerians, undermining the country’s potential for intellectual and economic growth.”
The group also bemoaned the fact that some new students had to turn to public fundraising to cover their tuition costs and that some others had quit their classes.
“It is important to note that some newly admitted students of the University of Lagos, hailing from underprivileged backgrounds, are currently resorting to public fundraising efforts to meet the exorbitant 500% fee hike imposed by the University. Some are already dropping out and deferring admission.
“An average UNILAG fresh undergraduate student is now forced to pay nothing less than 300,000 in fees. Returning students, 200,000 or more depending on departments. Other programmes are already in the corridor of millions. At a public University for crying out loud!
“This is aside from other fees accommodation, transport, and feeding costs that have also skyrocketed due to the thoughtless subsidy removal policy of the government.
“We therefore urge the NLC to prioritize discussions with the Federal Government on this critical issue and demand that the recent fee increments be reverted to status quo ante. This action is essential to ensure that higher education remains affordable and accessible to all Nigerians, fostering social equity and national development.
“We also call upon the government to find sustainable solutions to the challenges facing the education sector. These solutions should prioritize adequate funding, democratization of the campuses, improved infrastructure, better welfare for education workers, and enhanced quality of education to uplift the nation’s educational standards.
“We stand united in our demand for the NLC to champion the cause of affordable and accessible education for all Nigerian citizens at their meeting with FG today.”
“We believe that by addressing the issue of fee hikes in tertiary institutions, we can pave the way for a brighter future for our youth and the nation as a whole,” the statement continued.