*mandate C’mte to probe cause of increment
By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday asked the management of University of Maiduguri to stay action on the increment in is tuition fees until a thorough investigation as to the reason for the hike was carried out.
It will be recalled that the University located in insurgent feasted Borno State recently increased its fees from 40 percent to almost 400 percent.
For instance, the tuition fee of medical students which was formerly N37,000 has risen to N149, 000.
The institution also introduced bench fees of N70,00 which was nonexistent.
This means that the students would pay for every desk used.
Similarly, the university also shot high its fees for collection of certificates as well as identity cards. Hostel fees were also affected.
At its plenary, the House argued that the increase was arbitrary and would discourage Nigerians especially people of the northeast from going to school.
Moving the motion under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, the mover and member representing Monguno/Marte/Nganzi federal constituency of Borno State, Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno said the hike will force many students out of school.
He urged the House intervention on behalf of the students.
He said: “The House received with deep concern the recent decision by the management of University of Maiduguri to increase the registration and other fees of students of the school from 40% to 400% in certain instances as strategically regrettable and unhelpful in the face of the plight of the people of the northeast as a whole. An example is an increase from 25,000 to N129,000 as bench charges and other fees for some students
“Notes that irrespective of justification that may be attached to this decision due to maybe the peculiar operational and managerial realities of the school, the decision is one that must worry every well meaning Nigerian at this time
“Observes that education remains the biggest repellent and the most potent tool in our arsenal as a people to not only defeat Boko Haram for good but also revamp the north east from the shackles of underdevelopment and poverty
“Acknowledges the prime place the university of Maiduguri holds in this regards, is invaluable in the north east in particular and to the entire northern Nigeria and Nigeria in general
“Further acknowledges the courage and determination of the University Management by being steadfast in the provision of excellent academic environment and without shutting its campus in the face of severe threats during the heightened activity of the insurgency begs the case that this decision be reviewed
“Aware that with the over 14 million Nigerian children of school age, not in school, and of these numbers not attending school, 62 percent live in the northern Nigeria. Half of the men in northeast Nigeria have received no education at all, and this figure rises to over 61 percent for women, it is imperative that school in the northeast remains of strategic national interest with overwhelming national security importance
“Considers the fact that Borno State had the highest number of people that don’t have access to education due to the present boko haram crisis in particular more than enough reason to ensure that the least burden for access and viability of education as a fundamental privilege is ensured as far as possible especially for University of Maiduguri
“Observes that all stakeholders must rise to the occasion at this moment to ensure that this state of affairs is reversed due to the greater need to propagate the right value of tolerance, liberalism, multiculturalism, and self -empowerment through education at the highest levels
“Notes that to allow this decision to stand would be to further push the entire people of Borno State and the northeast further into the state of utter despair, having been beaten away from their farms, their lands, their fishing activity and where most have lost their livelihood due to the absence of an economy. This would narrow their choices and amplify the appeal towards those against education therefore deepening the gulf and the impact of the insurgency
“Aware that a lot of students especially those from Borno State and north east States will drop out should this decision see the light of day. This situation may force them to become a social menace to the society”.
Contributing to the motion, some members decried the incessant and arbitrary hikes in tuition fees by Nigerian higher institutions.
They argued that the development would discourage many parents from sending their wards to schools in the light of the economic situations in the country.
The motion when subjected voice vote received the unanimous support of the members.
Adopting it, the House mandated its Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to engage the management of the university to stay action on the increment to enable it carry out its investigation on the matter in a bid to finding a lasting solution.