UNICAL students protest massive increase in tuition fees

Academic activities were halted at the University of Calabar on Monday following students’ protests against the 100 per cent increase in the institution’s tuition fees.

Earlier, the university had released a new schedule of fees that would take effect in the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 academic sessions.

The students, who embarked on a peaceful protest to register their dissatisfaction, barricaded the roads leading into the campus, thus preventing workers from coming in.

The protest also caused heavy traffic jams on the roads, compelling some motorists to make a U-turn.

The protesters, who were no fewer than 100 in number, blocked the Mary Slessor and Etta Agbor Roads.

Many of them clutched fresh leaves, while others displayed placards with different inscriptions.

Some of the inscriptions read, “We came to school to study, not to kill our parents”; “The Vice Chancellor of UniCal went to school in her days, free of charge, but today wants to kill students with crazy charges,” amongst others.

Speaking in an interview with NAN, one of the protesters, Tony Erei, said they would continue the protest until the institution reversed to the status quo.

Erei said, “In the last few months, Nigerians have suffered a lot with the increase in the prices of everything, including petroleum products, without commensurate increase in the income of workers.

“Increasing charges now is uncalled for because students and parents are still struggling to pay the last increment that was done sometime ago by the same university management.”

Another student, Amarachi Obialor, described the situation in the country as “sheer wickedness and insensitivity by our leaders.”

There was a heavy presence of police personnel around the protesters to ensure that the protest did not result in a breakdown of law and order on campus.

With the new fee, fresh students as well as old students and the final-year students for the non-science courses are expected to pay N111,000, N91,500 and N114,000, respectively.

They are also to pay N36,500, N21,500, and N21,500, respectively, as third-party dues.

Similarly, the fee for the science-based courses was increased to N155,000, N125,000 and N148,000, respectively for freshers, returning students and final-year students.

In the same vein, they are also to pay N38,500, N21,500, and N21,500, respectively, as third-party dues.

Before the hike, an average student, depending on the department, paid N64,050 for freshers, N52,050 for the final year and N49,500 for returning students.

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