Academic activities in Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpaden, Mpat Enin Local Government Area of the state were on Monday grounded for some hours due to protest by students over increase in school fees.
It was gathered that the University recently announced an increase of more than 75% increase in the school fees for the fresh students in the 2020/2021 academic year.
The freshers who are indigenes of the state were mandated to pay the sum of N90,000 against the initial N53,000 while non-indigenes were to pay the sum of N120,000 respectively.
However, all returning students were to pay the same amount they paid last session which is N53,000 for indigenes and N73,000 for non-indigenes of the state.
The protesters who blocked the main entrance of the institution at Ikot Akpaden campus maintained peaceful disposition but displayed placards of various inscriptions such as: NANS demands immediate reversal of school fees, “#OccupyAKSU, mother of all protest”, among others.
A student who pleaded not to be mentioned said it was unfair for the University authorities to increase school fees with the prevailing harsh economic realities in the country.
According to the student, “The country is going through serious economic hardships occasioned by the COVID-19, and for the school authorities to come up with a hike in school fees at this time is very discouraging.”
Another student who also pleaded anonymity said the students would resist every attempt to increase school fees at any given opportunity.
She questioned the rationale behind the increment, urging the relevant authorities to look into the matter.
“I don’t know why the school management will be inconsiderate to increase our schools fees with over 75%. We want our governor or higher authorities to come to our aid. The money is outrageous”, she said.
Meanwhile, efforts to speak with the institution’s Director of Information, Akaniyene Ibanga, were unsuccessful as he was not responding to numerous calls send to him by journalists at press time.