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Fee: Universities In Desperate Situation, Difficult To Retain Old Rates – UNILAG VC




….Says no student will drop out

Vice Chancellor, the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, has said universities in the country are in desperate situations regarding the pressure to produce quality graduates and having to do that with very limited resources.

She likened the situation to when a person is mandated to run a sprint race with his hands tied behind his back.

She spoke on Saturday night in a virtual press briefing in Lagos.

Ogunsola, who said she was part of the students that took part in the “Ali must go” protest in 1978, expressed her support for students peacefully expressing their reservations about any issue, but warned that they should not let such become violent.

She explained that even if the 35,000 student population of the university pay up the new rate, it would amount to about N800 million which is not even enough to meet the electricty bill of the institution that she put at over N1.7 billion annually.

She added that power supply to the university was disconnected in May this year over indebtedness and that the power distribution company even warned that it would still disconnect the school last month.

“It is just unfortunate that these things are happening almost at the same time, I mean the withdrawal of fuel subsidy and fee hike. In fact, the fees ought to have been gradually increased over the years, but that was not allowed then. The last time fee was increased in UNILAG was over 15 years ago. So, can we say the N20,000 of today still have the same value with the N20,000 of that time?

“We started looking at the possiblity of increasing the fees in January this year and we took the matter to the Governing Council of the institution. A committee was set up to look at our obligations and what can be done. The situation was assessed and the proposed new fee regime was taken to the Federal Ministry of Education in. Abuja. The ministry moderated the bill and gave the necessary approval. The Council decided that by July this year, the new fee regime would be announced and the payment would commence by October this year. However, the Council was dissolved.

“Apart from the cost of power, I will give an insight into some of our expenses. We spend not less than N5,000 to verify results of each new student we admit. To conduct examinations across all faculties, we spend about N160 million annually. To accredit new programme or even maintain the accreditation of others, we spend about N200 million every year.

“Our hostels are ageing and need constant repair and maintenance, for that we spend about N500 million annually too. With the new rate, we can only generate about N800 million, we are pressed for finance. Lecturers are leaving in droves because of the condition of service and other issue. Only last week, five lecturers resigned.  The error is that the increment should have been allowed all these years and it would have been gradual.

“If the federal government says will should revert to the old rate, we would have no choice but to comply, but many things would be negatively affected. For instance, our campus is the most energised regarding the provision of electricity and internet facilities. I stand to be corrected on this, that may have to be reduced drastically.

“Mind you, we have not passed all the costs to the students and their parents, we are still augmenting many items through the little we generate as internal revenue, but that is limited too. The government is also doing its own part by paying salaries of workers. This is a knowledge business and not buying and selling where you pass all the costs to the buyer.

“We have not mentioned the provision of facilities and infrastructure. In those days, universities themselves were building structures here and there, but now the revenue is grossly inadequate and it is only the intervention of TETFund that has been the saving grace,” she said.

On what would become the fate of indigent students, the VC stated that a number of steps had been put in place to ensure that no student of the university drops out.

“We have made the arrangement that students will first pay 50 percent of the fee while resuming, pay 20 percent by the time first semester examination would start and pay the remaining 30 percent in the second semester. Fees to be paid are, new students who are not going to make use of laboratories or studios, N126,325, those who will make use of laboratories and or studios, N176,325. Returning students in the above categories will pay N100,750 and N140,250. Medical students to pay N190,250.

“Also, before now, we have an internal programme that takes care of indigent students and by last year, we had 600 on the list we take care of. With the new intakes and regarding the situation on ground, we have the capacity to take care of thrice that number. The affected students only have to go to the office of the Dean of Students Affairs.

“We have Study Work Programme and we have increased the number of beneficiaries and the renumeration. After we reached out to friends of the university, last year alone, about 227 indigent students were adopted and supported by such individuals and organisations. Our Endowment Scholarship is also on. Let me tell you, from the number of students who have paid so far, we can say only few would fall into indigent student category,” she said.

On the insinuations that some students have been pencilled down for sanctions over last week’s protest at the school gate, she debunked such, saying there would never be anything like that.

“The Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students is a student of UNILAG and he is doing his job as the spokesman of the group. We are not listing anybody for punishment. I was at the gate and the DSA was also there when the protest took place last Wednesday. One thing I know is that most of the students who protested were not our students. Our students are on holiday and we have reached out to them through their leaders,” she said.

On whether the absence of a student union leadership in the university led to a gap in communication between the management and the students, the VC said other means had been used to get to the students.

On what the leadership of universities are doing to get the government to fund the system adequately, Ogunsola explained that determining what could qualify for adequate funding was relative.

“It is obvious that the government cannot do it all alone and that is why we are calling on public spirited individuals and corporate bodies to support the sector. The body of vice chancellors of universities has also written the new Minister of Education to congratulate him on his appointment and the need to make more funds available to the sector. We are hopeful,” she said.

Recall that last Wednesday, students from the university, joined by their colleagues from other institutions, protested at the main gate of the university.

The development followed the decision of the school to increase fees payable by the students by over 800 percent.


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China Reaffirms Commitment To Nigeria, Renovates Ogun School



The Chinese Consul-General, Lagos, Yan Yuqing, has reiterated the commitment of the People’s Republic of China towards assisting Nigerian government to develop its education sector.

The Chinese Consul-General disclosed this during the commissioning of renovated China-Nigeria Friendship Model Primary School, Igbesa in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Yuqing said China is quite convinced that education is the foundation of national development and a weapon to fight poverty.

He said China is always willing to partner with her host country to make meaningful investment in the critical sector

The projects sponsored by the Chinese Consulate and Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone included a block of classrooms, cafeteria, as well as donation of educational materials to the pupils of the school.

Yuqing said, “Chinese admire that education is the foundation of national development in the long run and strong weapon to fight poverty. All modern countries in the world do not fail to attach importance to education. As the largest developing country in the world, China has made remarkable achievements in all aspects of social development.

“These achievements are inseparable from our unswerving implementation of the strategy of invigorating China through science and education. And we always place education in a strategic position of priority development. We will continue to support Nigeria’s education system in all areas”.

She added, “Eleven years ago, the construction of this school began. Since then, this school has become a bridge of friendship and understanding between Nigeria and China and it has witnessed sincere friendship from China.

“Today, you can see here, the classrooms are more spacious, the campus is more beautiful, and the facilities are more complete. I hope that all the children will study harder in these improved classrooms and strive towards achieving their goals as soon as possible”.

While advising the pupils, the Consul-General said, “Children education is related to the future of a country; now you are the future of Nigeria. Work hard and fight for a better tomorrow for the prosperity of Nigeria.”

The Deputy-General, China-Africa Investment, Kevin Liu, said the China-Nigeria Model School stands for knowledge, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding, saying, “These values promote global peace and cooperation and we are committed to maintaining this standard for generations to come”.

Governor Dapo Abiodun, who was represented by a Commissioner-designate,Mr. Sesan Fagbayi, disclosed that the project would no doubt further foster smooth bilateral relationship with the Chinese government.

Abiodun has however appealed to the residents of Igbesa to continue to cooperate with the Chinese investors for peace and friendly environment in order for their businesses to thrive.

The Oloja-Ekun of Igbesaland, Oba Oluwatoyin Akinde, represented by Otunba Ade Durojaiye, lauded the Chinese Consulate and Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone for the project pleading for more support in developing the town.

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Fresh Strike Looms As NLC’s Ultimatum Expires Today



AS the ultimatum by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to the Federal Government to address the mass suffering and pains occasioned by the removal of subsidy on petrol expires today, the leadership of the Congress will meet next week to decide when to begin an indefinite nationwide strike.

But Vanguard gathered that the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, has been meeting with some members of the government team on how to avert the strike.

It was also gathered that the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, alongside the Vice President, are putting together a package, including wage awards, to be presented to the NLC leadership.

It will be recalled that NLC had between Tuesday, September 5 and Wednesday 6 embarked on a two-day nationwide warning strike to protest, among others, perceived government insensitivity to plights and sufferings of Nigerians, especially workers, following the subsidy removal.

Ahead of the warning strike, the National Executive Council, NEC, of NLC had issued within 14 working days or 21 days from September 1, 2023, an ultimatum for the government to address the excruciating mass suffering and the impoverishment experienced around the country, threatening an indefinite strike if government failed to address its demands.

As the 21-day ultimatum expires today, Vanguard learned that critical organs of NLC will be meeting next week to decide on the indefinite strike and modalities if nothing concrete was done to lessen the suffering and hardship of Nigerians.

A source said: “The issue is conventional, when an ultimatum expires, you call your organs and the organs will decide when to commence the strike. If we ever decide to say we would take one day or few days or one week to prepare for it, that would be their position.”

Pressed to be more categorical on whether the strike would commence immediately, one of the sources privy to the NLC meetings simply said “Nothing is impossible.”

‘Meeting to hold on a date for the strike to begin’

Another source told Vanguard that the “last NEC held on September 1, 2023, has actually given the leadership of NLC, especially members of the National Administrative Council, NAC, the go-ahead to meet, fix a date for the commencement of the indefinite strike and communicate to the state councils and industrial union affiliates.

“I can tell you that the leadership will meet next week and fix a date for the strike. However, if NAC members are convinced that the government has addressed our demands to an appreciable level, in such a case, the leadership will still call the organs to brief them of the development.”

‘Govt team working to avert strike’

The source, however, said available information revealed that the government team is working seriously to avert another round of industrial unrest by NLC.

He said further that both the minister of finance, and the vice president, who is standing in for the President who is attending the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, Summit in New York were considering some figures.

“So they know the seriousness of the planned action and some of them are speaking out boldly that they are not afraid because of the package they have for workers.

“Available information is that the government will soon announce what it has. They are really making efforts and again the President is not in the country.

“What we don’t know is whether what they have will be enough for NLC to consider or not. In the past two to three days, the vice president has been meeting with some of the government team to come up with something. “

The source made it clear that the NLC leadership had said it would not be part of any meeting if there were no tangible packages for workers.

Attempt to get a reaction from the Presidency did not yield any results as the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, is out of the country.

The presidential spokesman is with the President in New York for the UNGA summit.

Recall that while briefing last Friday, after its NEC’s meeting, NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said: “NEC-in-session of NLC resolved to embark on a total and indefinite shutdown of the nation within 14 working days or 21 days from today until steps are taken by the government to address the excruciating mass suffering and the impoverishment experienced around the country.

“To commence a two-day warning strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, 5th and 6th September 2023 to demonstrate our readiness for the indefinite strike later in the month and to also demand that the state vacates the illegally occupied national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. “

The NLC also resolved to embark on a mass protest and rally in Imo State within September, and equally raised the alarm over what it described as a renewed onslaught by the government and its agents on labour unions.

Ajaero explained that the proposed strike was necessitated by the government’s deliberate neglect and disregard to engage the relevant stakeholders through the channel of social dialogue.

He said the Federal Government had refused to engage and reach an agreement with organized labour on critical issues on the consequences of the unfortunate hike in prices of petrol which had unleashed massive suffering on Nigerian workers and masses.

Ajaero said: “There is a renewed onslaught against trade unions and its leadership by the state and its agents across Nigeria.

‘’The Police, under the instruction of certain forces peddling the name of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, invaded and occupied illegally the national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers headquarters seeking to install its own executive.”


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Kogi Declares Free Education In Primary, Secondary Schools; Commences Distribution Of Palliative



The Kogi government on Thursday declared free education for indigenes at primary and secondary school levels.

Governor Yahaya Bello made the declaration in Lokoja when he inaugurated the distribution of the federal government’s palliatives to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.

“My administration has now declared free education from primary to secondary school in the state and will cover examination fees for WAEC, NECO, and JAMB for all indigenes of Kogi,” he declared.

Mr Bello, who commended the federal government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of fuel subsidy removal on citizens, said the palliatives, which were valued well in excess of N2 billion,  would reach intended beneficiaries regardless of political, religious, or ethnic affiliations.

He extended his gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for the idea.

“Already, all the local government areas of the state have commenced the distribution of rice and other essential items.

“Therefore, this launch is essentially an extension of our ongoing efforts to cushion the impact of the current policy on our citizens.

“We are not only distributing rice but also making cash available to reach the people. The total value of what we are launching for distribution today exceeds N2 billion, and it is intended to reach every household in Kogi,” he stated.

He emphasised that those responsible for the distribution must not discriminate, warning that any report of bias or favoritism, or hoarding would be dealt with accordingly.

The governor, who called on security agencies to ensure a peaceful and smooth distribution process, assured the people that more initiatives to alleviate hardship were in place.

He commended the state’s people for their support for Mr Tinubu’s administration and the New Direction administration in Kogi, which had prioritised the welfare of residents.

While mentioning the various infrastructure developments that had taken place across the state, Mr Bello expressed confidence that the governorship candidate of the APC, Usman Ododo, when elected as his successor, would continue to build on the current achievements. 


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