Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, weekend, approved the sum of N51 million for the repairs of damaged property and facilities in Lagos State University, LASU, which was incurred in the wake of students’ unrest on January 23, 2014 over the closure of the institution’s portal.
The governor also directed the immediate re-opening of the institution from Monday February 24, (yesterday) in the overriding best interest of the students.
However, this development did not augur well with majority of the students who felt the major problems of hike in tuition fees had not been addressed by the government.
Origin of the crisis
The problem started in September 2011 when government, through a white paper, announced increase in the tuition fees. This led the students to stage a violent protest. Subsequently, government clarified that the increment would only be paid by fresh students.
In a special bulletin from the office of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Obafunwa, at the end of an emergency meeting of the school’s senate, the authorities, announced exemption of old students from the proposed fees.
The state government had directed that prospective students of Arts/Education should pay N193,750; Social and Management Sciences, N223,750; Law, N248,750; while those in Communication/Transport, Sciences, Engineering and College of Medicine are to pay N238,750, N258,750, N298,750 and N348,750 respectively as against what was obtainable then which ranged between N25,000 and N62,500.
Even then, the fees were to be paid in two installments, 70 per cent in the first semester and 30 per cent in second semester.
Recent crisis: In a fresh crisis, LASU authorities, early February, ordered immediate closure of the institution following violent protests by the students over closure of the school’s portal denying most of them the opportunity to register for the semester examination. Several properties worth millions of Naira were destroyed in the process.
However, the governor directed the school to re-open yesterday with final year students while the school’s portal would be re-opened for two days on February 24 and 25 for the final year students. The final year students’ examination will start on the March 3, while fresh students will commence registration on March 10, 2014. Other categories of students will resume on April 1, with the portal opened for them on April 1and 2.
Students hint of further trouble
Reacting to governor’s announcement, the students said apart from opening the portal, the issue of hike in tuition fees would continue to lead to clashes between the authorities and students.