President Goodluck Jonathan Special Adviser on Youths and Students Affairs, Mr. Imagwe Jude has asked management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife to resolve the ongoing fee hike crisis in the school.
Jude gave a Friday(today) ultimatum while responding to OAU students tweets on what the presidency was doing to assist them.
It would be recalled that OAU is currently on strike over protests by students of the institution against the fee hike.
OAU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bamitale Omole had in a press conference blamed inflation and sustenance of academic standard among others for increase in the charges of its newly admitted students from N37,150 and N42,150 to N82,400, N92,700 and N95,700 (acceptance fee inclusive), depending on faculties.
The charges of old students of the institution was also increased from N5,300, N7,800, N10, 300 and N12,800 per session to N19,700, N30,700 and N33,700 for different faculties respectively.
The SA through his twitter handle, @imagwejude, on Wednesday denied that neither the Federal Government nor National University Commission knew about the increment.
He said, “On OAU, let me make some clarifications: The Executive Secretary of NUC and myself are on the matter. The School Management were the ones who increased the fees. FG did not increase fees.
“We have given the University Management till Friday to respond. if by Friday the University Management fails to respond, expect me in person in OAU. I am in talks with the Students Union leadership there. Let’s see if I come in person whether they won’t explain why increase in school fees.”
He lamented that the school management would hide under university autonomy to increase the fee, urging students to monitor the intervention given to the school by the federal government.
Though, OAU management denied it has not received proceed from the NEEDS fund fought for by Academic Staff Union of Universities, Jude doubted if the money would be well utilised.
He challenged the students to monitor the proper usage of the fund.
He added, “Half of the money released to ASUU are you the students monitoring the utilization? What has been done with the money?”
“It is general norm that when some university management want to increase fees that’s when they remember the word: ‘autonomy’ but when they want to go on ASUU strike, they don’t remember the word ‘Autonomy’. Has there been an improvement in facilities in your schools? Is the money been judiciously used?”
Meanwhile, the Students Union of OAU in a communique by its President, Ibikikunle Isaac, said it was ready for negotiation.
The statement read, ” For the avoidance of doubt, the union leadership has been an advocate of diplomacy, lobbying, negotiation & as such initiated same several times in the course of this struggle, but the management frustrated all in the instances by, among other things, making its stance an imposition.
“This time also Union is open to negotiation, a genuine negotiation based on mutual respect and collective interest- not threat, imposition or blackmail. We hope the management would sincerely take the hint.”