BENIN – Hundreds of angry students of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) on Tuesday grounded social and commercial activities for several hours as they took to the streets of Benin to protest alleged incessant and unbearable charges imposed on late payment of school fees by the authority.
The protesters started their protest by blocking the main gate of the Ugbowo campus of the university, a situation that caused long queue of vehicles along the ever-busy Benin-Lagos highway where they later moved to the main town of the ancient city.
It was learnt that the students were first charged additional N14,000 to their regular school fees, and an additional N6,000 within a short notice.
The extra-charges demanded by the university’s management is allegedly for late payment of school fees.
It was further gathered that students who were yet to pay their school fees within the stipulated time would either pay the extra charges or lose their admission.
But, the protesting students argued that the increment was coming just one week after their resumption, whereas, late payment of school fees is supposed to commence in the second semester and not the first semester.
They further argued that some 100 Level students have not even been cleared, meaning that they will not be able to pay their school fees until after clearance.
Some of the students told newsmen that while they were yet to pay the first increment of N14,000, the school authorities added another N6,000 to it.
It was however gathered that the management of the university had earlier announced that students who did not pay school fees within the stipulated time will have to pay extra-charges or may likely have their studentship withdrawn.
As at the time of filing this report, the university’s image maker, Dr. Benedicta Ehanire, could not be reached on her mobile phone.
Speaking for the students, the Students Union Government (SUG) President, Comrade Egwu Benjamin Lotanna, said the institution’s management should call the students Union Executive Council for a round table meeting, adding that he believed so much in diplomacy and that the students also believe in dialogue.
Comrade Lotanna said the students love the VC and that when they (students) appeal to her, should would listen to their complaints.
“We love our Vice Chancellor very much and we believe she will hear our cry and reverse the extra-charges,” he said.