Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has urged the authorities of federal universities across the country to “immediately suspend the plan to increase tuition and school fees especially because the majority of the people have been pauperised as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.”
Falana made the call in a statement signed by Tayo Soyemi on behalf of Falana and Falana Chambers on Thursday.
The senior lawyer said, “Since the federal government has not lifted the 1975 policy which abolished the payment of tuition fees in federal tertiary institutions, the federal universities lack the power to impose astronomical tuition fees on students.”
“The payment of school fees in junior secondary schools is illegal as Section 2 of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act and Section 15 of the Child’s Rights Act have imposed a legal obligation on the federal and state governments to provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child from primary to junior secondary level.
“We have noted that the governments have not taken cognizance of the plight of physically challenged people in the implementation of the new education policy. It is pertinent to point out that it is illegal to collect school fees from physically challenged students.”
Channels Television had reported that some universities, including the University of Lagos hiked tuition fees for new and returning undergraduate students.
A late Friday statement from the institution hinged the move on what it described as the “prevailing economic realities”.
“After careful deliberations with its stakeholders (students, parents/guardians, staff unions, alumni among others), the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Management has reviewed the obligatory fees (mandatory charges for an academic session/year) of new and returning undergraduate students of the University,” the school explained.
“The adjustment in fees which will take effect from the 1st Semester, 2023/2024 Academic Session, is in view of the prevailing economic realities and the need for the University to be able to meet its obligations to its students, staff, and municipal service providers among others.”