Vehicular movement was disrupted at Ugbowo section of Benin-Ore highway as students of University of Benin protested the alleged imposition of N20, 000 late registration charge by the institution.
Reports state that the students mounted road block at the entrance of the university’s main campus in Ugbowo, on Tuesday morning, which affected free flow of traffic.
A student of the university, who preferred anonymity, described the decision of the university management as harsh, saying it 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 This is so sad and we will continue the protest unless the decision is rescinded,” she said.
Mr Benjamin Egwu, President of the Student Union Government (SUG), also said that the decision was in bad faith.
“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 Aug. 15, and one month after they begin to charge N20, 000.
“Our school fees as at the time I was admitted into the university in 2016 were 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 charges is unbearable for the students; though a lot of students have paid school fees, but those ones 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 is `no school fees, no examination`; there’s no problem about 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.
Efforts to reach the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Dr Bennedicta Ehanire, were to no avail as she neither responded to messages nor picked her calls.