Students of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, on the aegis of Students Solidarity Group Against Students Hike in collaboration with the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, hit the streets on Tuesday morning to protest the increment in tuition fees by the management of the institution.
The students reconvened a week after the first protest was disrupted by security operatives as colleagues from other universities also joined them in solidarity.
According to a statement by the group, “Over the past few weeks, students at UNILAG have been steadfast in their demand for a revert in the obligatory fees imposed by the Prof. Folashade led-management and an improvement in the overall quality of education. We argued that exorbitant fees were making education inaccessible to many deserving students and putting a heavy burden on those already enrolled.
“The movement’s peaceful protests, extensive advocacy campaigns, and strong social media presence gained widespread attention and support from not only students but also concerned citizens, activists, and the wider community. The #FEESMUSTFALL movement ignited a nationwide conversation about the importance of affordable education and the need for universities to prioritize the welfare of their students. It has advanced the argument for adequate funding of public education by the government and at this time, the Tinubu-led administration.
“In the face of this ongoing struggle, we would like to provide you with an important update regarding the upcoming meeting between the student representatives, NANS representatives and UNILAG management scheduled for tomorrow, 14th of September, 2023.
This is a critical moment, and it is imperative that we remain united and focused on our objectives.
“Firstly, we acknowledge the concerns that have been raised about the potential for external interference in our dialogue with UNILAG management. We understand the importance of maintaining the integrity of our movement and ensuring that our voices are not diluted or manipulated. Therefore, we urge all executives of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to act responsibly and respect the interests of the students during the dialogue.
“It is to this effect, we demand that the NANS executives, especially the President engage the protesting students before meeting the Management. That’s the ideal thing to do. No aspiring leader in a democratic dispensation should meet with an opposing party in a crisis like this, without recourse to the students. It’s both immoral and undemocratic if such meeting holds without an engagement with the students and their representatives on ground.
“We have two pending recommendations from the last meeting that are yet to be implemented by the Management. We propose that no dialogue should go on without attending to both recommendations. It is a way of testing the fidelity or otherwise of the opposing party- the UNILAG management.
“Furthermore, it is essential that we approach the meeting with a constructive and open-minded attitude. Our objective is to engage in productive discussions with UNILAG management, with the aim of achieving a reasonable resolution to the fee hike issue. Let us remember that our collective strength lies in our unity and our ability to articulate our concerns and demands effectively.
“In addition, please be aware that it was agreed at the students congress in today’s protest that the protest will be reconvened and continued tomorrow, even as student leaders and NANS representatives engage in dialogue with UNILAG management. This is to ensure that the pressure remains on the University to address our concerns and demands promptly and effectively.”
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