The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has urged Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State to reverse the increased tuition fees for the students of Lagos State University, describing the increase unfair, unjust, discriminatory and retrogressive.
In a press release by SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, it urged the governor to ensure and guarantee that no LASU students will be denied access to education because they cannot pay the increased fees.
It reads, “By reversing the tuition fees, your government will be demonstrating its sacred duty to promote equality in the society, and showing respect for international law requiring states to move towards free higher education when setting fees policy.
“We believe that next in importance to freedom and justice is access to quality education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be maintained.
“The increased tuition fees have constituted a disincentive to poorer students attending LASU, because we continue to receive reports of decreasing level of enrolment to the school due primarily to the increased fees.
“We believe that the increased tuition fees discriminate against poorer students. As most students wishing to attend LASU cannot do so on the grounds of their economic and social conditions, their right of access to education is clearly being severely curtailed, if not extinguished.
“A hike in fees cannot be in the best interests of the child, which is a fundamental principle entrenched in international law, in particular, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Nigeria has ratified.
“The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria is a state party provides that, higher education shall be made equally accessible to all on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education.
“Education aims to provide the child with life skills, strengthen the child’s capacity to enjoy the full range of human rights and promote a culture which is infused by appropriate human rights values.
“Non-discrimination and economic accessibility mean that education must be accessible to all, especially the most disadvantaged students. Progressive introduction of free education means that while States must prioritize the provision of free primary education, they also have an obligation to take concrete steps towards achieving free secondary and higher education.”