The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) today took staged a protest at the Lagos State Government secretariat, Ikeja over hike in fees of the Lagos State University (LASU).
Students numbering about 200 stormed the governor’s office chanting songs and carrying placards with various inscriptions, some of which read “What has the poor done wrong?” and “Fashola Reduce LASU fees’’
After attempts by security details at the governor’s office gate to prevent the students from entering almost failed, Governor Babatunde Fashola ordered that the protesters be allowed to come and express their grievances.
Sunday Ashefon, NANS South-West Zone Coordinator, who led the protest, described the increase in LASU fees from N25,000 to N250,000 as prohibitive.
According to him, the increase had affected students of the institution who have had to drop out because they could not afford to pay.
“The fees are not just affordable; some of our colleagues have opted out of LASU simply because they cannot pay from N250,000 to N350,000 school fees.
“These prohibitively high fees are some of the highest paid by any university in the country. Children of the poor can no more attend LASU and this is sad.
“What Nigerian students want therefore, is nothing but reversal of the fees to the initial N25 000. APC as a political party promises change, we want that change in LASU too,’’ he said.
Nurudeen Yusuf, LASU Student Union President, also noted that the hike in fees in the institution had resulted in many problems in the school.
He noted that the hike had not only forced out some students because they could not pay, it had also resulted in falling standards.
“The glorious days of LASU are disappearing and we can’t really see any justification for the new fees,’’ he said.
In his response, Fashola said the decision of the state government to increase fees was to reposition the university and make it a centre of academic excellence.
He said the N25,000 paid before now by students will not guarantee the kind of high quality education they deserve to get, noting that the high fees were part of efforts to create a university where the children of the poor and the rich could learn and achieve together.
“It is not right to keep a university only for the children of the poor. That doesn’t make a university anymore,” Fashola said.