The President of the Olabisi Onabanjo University Students’ Union, Ifade Olusegun, has explained that the protest by the students was in reaction to the State Government’s failure to keep to their promise of 50% reduction of school fees as promised in 2011.
This is in line with the recent protest by the students over the 10% reduction of tuition fees announced by the State Government.
He said that the current fees being paid by OOU students ranged from N134,000 to N305,000, making the school the highest paid government school, asides the private universities in the country.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Mr Olusegun explained that the tuition fees increment was done before the current administration and in 2011, during electioneering, Governor Amosun promised a 50% reduction but he later did a 10% reduction, leaving the students to pay the remaining 40%.
The Students’ Union President stated that due to the high fees, about 2,000 students, in 2013, took a leave of absence to go and work in order to afford the fees, with some of them unable to return.
He noted that before the increment of fees, the students were paying between N40,000 and N70,000, adding that the Students’ Union had written series of letters to the government for a review of the high fees but to no avail.
The Union, according to him, then declared a two-day protest with a briefing on August 6, after which he was invited with his team to meet with the government.
He further noted that after three meetings with the government, a 10% reduction was announced without an agreement.
“If the government had the intention of a 10% reduction then they should not have invited us to the table of negotiation before going to the media,” the Union President said, maintaining that their demand was for the remaining 40% reduction to be implemented for the 2014/2015 academic session.
The Union President also said that OOU was not the only school in Ogun State asking for a reduction of fees from the State Government, but that they, in addition to this, had the peculiar issue of being the only school still in the 2013/2014 academic session.
However, the Commissioner for Education in Ogun State, Segun Odubela, who joined the conversation via telephone, insisted that the Olabisi Onabanjo University students were the only ones protesting in the state.
He also argued that it was not the only school still running the 2013/2014 academic session, contrary to what the Student Union leader had earlier claimed.
The Commissioner maintained his earlier stance during a previous interview on Channels Television that the Students’ Union leader and 9 other leaders were part of the meeting where the 10% reduction was decided.
He, however, added that the reduction, as announced by the State Government, would take effect in the 2014/2015 academic session.