The University of Abuja (UniAbuja) says the students protesting the closure of its tuition fee portal are only disrupting the school calendar after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike.
In the early hours of Monday, a deluge of students had shut down the school’s main gate over a series of concerns that they described as the “injustices” against them by the varsity’s management.
They also decried the hike in their tuition fee, which was said to have surged from about N22,000 to N42,000. They demanded that the school fee portal be reopened for students yet to meet their financial obligations.
In a statement signed by Habib Yakoob, the varsity’s PR head, the management warned the protesters that the demonstration was only disrupting the academic calendar after months of lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic and ASUU strike.
“This morning some students blocked the main gate of the university, preventing other students and staff from gaining access into the campus. The students said they were demanding the reopening and extension of the school fees payment portal, cancellation of the late registration fee, and postponement of exams till March 8,” he wrote.
“The university management states that following the release of 2019/2020 academic calendar by the senate of the university, the registration of students was to be done in four weeks. Following the expiration of this process, the university closed the portal in February 2020 in line with the 2019/2020 academic calendar.
“Yet after pleas from the students’ union, the vice-chancellor, in his magnanimity, twice directed the reopening, at different times, of the portal to accommodate those who didn’t register on time. In the last one week, a couple of meetings were held with the students’ union which again demanded the re-opening of the portal.”
Yakoob said the management was surprised to find that the students’ demands were issues the varsity previously addressed.
“The university administration held an emergency meeting with the union at 2:00 pm on Sunday 31st January 2021 and considered their appeal. Consequently, the portal was reopened on Sunday 31st January 2021 for registration, for another two weeks – till February 14, 2021, and the students were duly informed,” he added.
“Again, the late registration fee for those who had not paid their school fee as well as those who paid but did not register was waived; and late registration fee of N5, 000 was to be refunded to students who had earlier paid.
“The university management, is, however, surprised that while so many of our students were excited to be resuming to campus today after ten months at home, they were held back by some elements among students who are protesting the same issue that had already been addressed by the university.
“The university appeals to all law-abiding students to not partake in disrupting the 2019/2020 academic calendar, considering the amount of time lost to the strike by the ASUU, and Covid-19 pandemic.”
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