The National Association of Nigerian Students has condemned the comment of the presidency on the increase of school fees, describing it as deceitful and misleading.
The presidency, through the Special adviser to the president on communication, Dele Alake on Wednesday said reports suggesting that President Bola Tinubu increased tuition fees in federal government-owned universities are incorrect.
Alake stated that the increment is discretionary by each university, adding that each institution can determine what to charge for hostel accommodation, registration, laboratory, and other charges which are not school fees.
However, NANS in a statement by its National Public Relations Officer, Giwa Temitope said the presidency’s comment “is a dubious attempt to conceal the real picture and the extent of the crises the Federal Government and authorities of tertiary institutions have driven the students into.”
It also said the Tinubu-led administration displayed a “lack of willingness to ensure the education sector is uplifted”.
“The posture of the Nigerian government towards what we tag astronomical and illogical increment in fees payable across our Universities. We consider the claim by President Tinubu that Nigerian Universities are tuition-free, as deceitful and misleading.”
The apex student body demanded an immediate reversal of the fee increase in all federal.
It also asked that the student loan scheme proposed by the Federal Government should be abandoned, adding that the education sector be properly funded for the effective delivery of quality education.
“The funding of education remains the sole responsibility of the government and it must remain as such. For no reason should the government, as Dele Alake is trying effortlessly to do, shift the responsibility of funding education to the students or their suffering parents.
“We maintain that there is no reason whatsoever for the increment in fees payable across our Universities. Therefore, we demand an immediate and unconditional reversal of the increment in fees in all the affected institutions.
“Yes, federal Universities remain tuition-free but the sundry payment students are being tasked to pay should solely be the sole responsibility of the government. As a matter of fact, if truly Tinubu is interested in ensuring that every Nigerian regardless of the economic situation has access to quality education, as painted by Dele Alake in his press text on behalf of the Nigerian presidency, his administration must invest more substantially in the education sector, to ensure access to quality education for everyone, regardless of economic background.
“In light of the outrageous fees paid by Nigerian students, the tuition-free policy is tantamount to free tuition in exchange for outrageous fees!”
The statement further stated, “Increasing fees payable will automatically deny thousands of students access to education and we, as an association have resolved to vehemently oppose it. Students loan which Dele Alake is fronting is far from the way forward but grants, aids, and scholarship. This is because the student loan scheme is an attempt to turn students into life-long debtors in exchange for a service that ought to be provided for by the government.
“In an economy where gainful employment has become a miracle people pray for in religious centres, it is callous to make them debtors even before they commence their career. We also consider the student loan scheme as an effort in the wrong direction. The conditions attached to the loan are bogus and almost impossible to meet by any student. It appears the loan policy on paper is a loan for all, while in practice it is a loan for NONE.
“We demand that the student loan scheme should be abandoned, an…