Nigerian students under the aegis of Students’ Solidarity Group Against Fee Hikes have told the President Bola Tinubu-led Nigerian government to rather fund education adequately rather than providing students loans.
The group also asked Tinubu to focus on addressing the issue of fees hike by Nigerian universities, saying that donating buses to students’ unions would never be a solution but a Greek gift.
The Solidarity Group in a statement from its secretariat and signed by Oluwatosin Adetola, described a press statement by the Presidency which it said failed to address its struggle as “a very clogged one laced with ambiguous words and escapist antics that governments struggling to be populist are known for.”
The group further stated, “We wish to advise the Tinubu-regime to be clear on its stance on funding education, clear on the unnecessary loan and the maddening fee hike it endorsed across our Universities.
“We observed in the statement that the Presidency in one breathe said loan will now be issued without “restrictions” to those who need it and in another breathe, it is saying it has ordered University Managements to suspend any arbitrary fee increment.
“We want to state clearly that Nigerian students do not want loans to pay expensive fees. What they want is quality education that is not priced out of the reach of 133 million people living in extreme and multi-dimensional poverty. Do not make us perennial debtors because we seek a better future for ourselves!
“We seize this medium to reiterate that what we are demanding is total reversal of fee hikes across Universities and other tertiary institutions.
“For example, at the University of Lagos, the 140,000 should be reverted to 21,000, the 230,000 in University of Jos to 45,000 and so on and so forth. We will not back down on this demand. What’s confusing members of the public is why should loans be offered again if the Tinubu regime has announced reversal of fees? The regime needs to come out clear on this aspect.
“We also find very funny the response of the government to the high transportation cost students face. How does the Tinubu regime think giving buses to Students’ Unions will cushion the hardship? One or two buses in a community of 35,000 people? What kind of logic is that?
“Buses that are most likely going to end up in the garages of the VCs and DSAs of these schools. Can this regime be serious, at least for once?
“Government should fix the economic hardship by institutionalizing pro-people policies and stop handing out “8000 palliatives” to the poor.
“While we await a clearer stance on the fee hike, we urge every Nigerian student and parents to join the struggle for adequate funding of education, better living and learning conditions on our campuses so our development as a people won’t be impeded.
“Anything short of a clear response by the government, we promise that the streets will be the ground of settlement.”