The Workers and Youths Solidarity Network (WYSN), a Nigerian workers solidarity group, has made a formal demand for the immediate reversal of the recent “over 500%” increase in school fees imposed by the University of Lagos, Lagos State, on its students.
In a statement released by the group’s Secretary, Damilola Owot, the fees hike was strongly condemned as an act of “cruelty, insensitivity, and callousness.”
WYSN expressed its opposition to the university management’s plan, along with the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), to burden students with exorbitant fees as a way to compensate for the government’s poor funding of education.
The group urged the university management and other tertiary institutions to seek funding from the government rather than resorting to placing additional hardships on the already struggling students and ordinary citizens. They also called upon students, unions, staff, and the general public to unite and safeguard the Nigerian education sector from imminent collapse.
WYSN highlighted incidents at the University of Abuja and the University of Benin, where students protested against similar fee hikes, and also criticized the Students’ Loan scheme as detrimental to the accessibility of education for all.
The group laid the blame on the doorstep of the government, specifically the Tinubu/APC-led federal government, for consistently neglecting education funding. They emphasised that only a united effort by students, workers, and parents could effectively push back against the attacks on education and secure a free, quality, and well-funded public education system.
WYSN emphasised that education is a crucial tool for national development, and the current privatization and commercialization approach would only worsen the living conditions of the people and lead to increased insecurity in the country.
The statement concluded with a call for the management of the University of Abuja to abandon their plans for fee hikes and for students at the University of Lagos to organize public meetings and congresses to demand a reversal of the astronomical fee increase, better accommodation facilities, and adequate funding of public education. Additionally, staff unions, organizations, and individuals were invited to join in the quest for free and quality education.