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UNIBEN students protest late registration charges, blockade Benin-Ore highway

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By Nosa Akenzua Benin

Aggrieved students of the University of Benin, on Tuesday, blocked the ever-busy Ugbowo section of Benin-Ore highway in protest over an alleged imposition of N20,000 as late registration charge by the institution management.

Students of the University of Benin in Benin, Edo state disrupted all vehicular traffic at the entrance of the university’s main campus in Ugbowo as they mounted roadblocks in protest of the new fee. This caused heavy traffic gridlock forcing residents in the Ugbowo area and environs to trek long distances to their destinations

President of the Student Union Government (SUG), Mr Benjamin Egwu, described the decision of university management on the charge as being in bad faith.

According to him, “Earlier this semester, the management of the University of Benin announced that it would put extra charges if school fee was not paid on time and we are saying they should not charge for late payment because the time is not okay.

“The school resumed on August 15 and, only one month after, they begin to charge N20,000.

“Our school fees, as at the time I was admitted into the university in 2016, was N13,000 for arts students and N15,000 for the science students.

“In 2018, it was increased to N41,000 for arts and N45,000 for science.

“The N20,000 additional charge is unbearable for the students; though a lot of students have paid school fees, those that are unable to pay, truly don’t have the money now.

“So, adding extra N20,000 when they have not been able to pay 41,000 is another burden,” he said.

Egwu alleged that the management had threatened to withdraw any student who failed to pay.

“The excess of N20,000 is uncalled for. Before now, what we used to do was `no school fees, no examination`; there’s no problem with that.

“What the students are doing is right. Protest is not a bad thing; it is a way of appealing particularly when they feel cheated.”

Egwu said that the union had reached out to the institution’s management on the matter, even before the protest.

“Well, I have done my bit. I have spoken with the management and posited my idea on what I feel.

“I believe they heard me and the message is clear. I am expecting the management to act and I believe they will act in no distant time; there is no need to rush,” the SUG president said.

A student of the university described the decision of the university management to impose N20,000 as late registration as harsh, saying that the management did not take into consideration “the unfavourable economic situation in the country.”

“Madam vice-chancellor increased tuition fees by N20,000. This is so sad and we will continue the protest unless the decision is rescinded,” she said.

Dr Benedicta Ehanire, public relations officer of the university, however, confirmed that the managements of the institution would be meeting to review the demands of the protesters adding that “There was no need for the protest at all and we observed that it was hijacked by miscreants in the streets who are not students of the University of Benin. UNIBEN is different from other universities and it would be resolved amicably.”

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