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Unizik VC constitutes committee on alleged fee hike

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

The authorities of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state, say it had constituted a committee to address the alleged hike in school fees, which led to wide protest in the institution on Monday and Tuesday.

The University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, who disclosed this, said the committee comprised both the university management and students union representatives, and were given a mandate to address the agitations of the students within the next 24 hours.

Orient Daily recalls that the students staged a peaceful protest over an alleged fee hike. The protesters bore placards of various inscriptions, and insisted on reversal of the fees.

Addressing the protesters in front of the university library on Tuesday, Esimone assured them that all their legitimate complaints would be addressed, promising to get back to them within 24hours.

He said, “My children, I have your interest at heart. I cannot deceive you. I have listened to your cry. With every sense of humility, I empathize and fully understand the hardship, suffering and emotional turmoil you’re passing through.

“I have heard all you said, and I agree with you. I’ve come to address you as your father. I assure you that all your legitimate complaints and concerns from A-Z will be reviewed and implemented.

“I’ve set up a management committee, who will meet with your representatives. But you have to choose among yourselves, representatives for the negotiations within 24hours”, the vice-chancellor said.

Meanwhile, this paper further learnt that the University Management did not increase the school fees of its student, but only harmonised the different fees, as no student was expected to make any other payment to their different Faculties, Departments or Union fees.

This harmonization came up as a result of the Federal Government instruction onTreasury Single Account (TSA) that no faculty or department should have separate accounts.

It was on this premise that the University Management earlier constituted a Committee, christened, ‘Committee on School Fees Reform’, which harmonized the school fees, giving rise to its implementation since 2019/2020 Academic Session.

The harmonized fees include Faculty levy, Departmental levy, Convocation levy, Students Union Fees, ICT Services, Examination fee, Laboratory/Studie/Clinical Fee, Laboratory test, x-Ray test, National Health Insurance Scheme, Development Levy, Students Union Fee Accreditation, Convocation fee.

It would be recalled that the institution, through its acting head, information and public relations, Mrs. Chika Ene, refuted alleged increase in school fees of returning students for the 2020/2021 academic session.

Also, the chairman, Anambra State Axis, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Peter Onyenweife, assured the students that his executives would never be party to any form of increment. He appealed to the students to ensure the protest was within the confines of the campus environment.

The dean, students’ affairs, Prof. Nonso Achebe, had also called on the students to suspend the protests.

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