By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Students of Akwa Ibom State University, Mkpat Enin on Monday, staged a peaceful demonstration following hike in school fees, a situation that halted normal academic activities at the school for many hours.
It was gathered that the university recently announced an increase of more than 75% in the school fees for the fresh students in the 2020/2021 academic year.
According to sources, the freshers who are indigenes of the state were mandated to pay the sum of N90,000 from the initial N53,000 while non-indigenes are to pay the sum of N120,000 respectively.
However, all returning students are to pay the same amount they paid last session which is N53,000 for indigenes and N73,000 for non-indigenes of the state.
It was gathered that the protesters who blocked the main entrance of the institution at the main campus, Ikot Akpaden in Mkpat Enin local government area, however did not molest or prevent students or lecturers from going in and out of the school compound.
They displayed placards of various inscriptions some of which read” NANS demands immediate reversal of schools fee, “#OccupyAKSU, mother of all protest among others.
One of the students (a final year in the department of agriculture) who spoke on condition of anonymity told our correspondent in Uyo that it was unfair for the University Authorities to increase school fees with the prevailing harsh economic realities in the country.
According to the student who is a final year from the department of agriculture,”The country is going through serious economic hardships occasioned by the COVID-19, and for the school authorities to come up with a hike in school fees at this time is very encouraging”.
He said the students will resist every attempt to increase school fees at any given opportunity.
Efforts to speak with the institution’s director of Information, Mr Akaniyene Ibanga, proved abortive as he was not responding to numerous calls send to him.
New Nigerian observed that the new fees announcement came barley few months that the striking academic staff of the University called off their over two months strike they embarked upon to press home for better welfare package and salary adjustment.