School fees hike will heighten insecurity, northern students warn

The Coalition of Northern Groups Students’ Wing (CNG-SW) has lamented what it termed “arbitrary and indiscriminate hike in school fees in different parts of the north,”.
They alleged that the federal and state governments have conspired to make education the exclusive preserve of the rich and wealthy in Nigeria.

Addressing the media Wednesday in Abuja, National Coordinator Students’ Wing, Coalition of Northern Groups, Comrade Jamilu Aliyu Charanchi, said, “It’s currently predicted that more girls will drop out of school, following the current economic hardship, unemployment, poverty and insecurity, which is crippling most of the commercial activities, particularly in Northern Nigeria.

“The Coalition of Northern Groups Students’ Wing (CNG-SW) is disturbed by reports from its state chapters of an attempt by the Federal and State Governments  to commercialise education to make it the exclusive preserve of treasury looters at the expense of children of millions of less-privileged Nigerians. 

“Institutions such as ATBU Bauchi in the Northeast, ABU Zaria in the Northwest is leading with over 100% increase, just like IBB University In the North central, with over 60% increase.
“The CNG Students’ Wing, hereby, condemns in the strongest terms, the hike in tuition fees as an untimely, immoral, unconscionable, height of insensitivity and unacceptable attempt to deny the children of the poor access to affordable education, entrench class dichotomy and widen the gap between the rich and the poor.
“We find it ridiculous and sad that stakeholders, particularly the lawmakers, cannot summon the courage to speak or stand with the people that sacrificed so much to see them in office at this trying time to demand an immediate reversal in the hike. When people, who are elected into offices, are indifferent or afraid to speak up for what is right and just, then the situation is hopeless. 
“It’s unfortunate that people in government today, who are major beneficiaries of the magnanimity and foresight of past Nigerian leaders in the provision of quality, accessible readily available and affordable education, are today the same people working to deprive other generations of the same privileges.”
He added: “It’s currently predicted that more girls will drop out of school following the current economic hardship, unemployment, poverty and insecurity which is crippling most of the commercial activities particularly in Northern Nigeria. It’s worrisome that this is coming at a time when promoting girls education is at the front burner of global discourse, especially in developing countries. 
“This singular act has not showcased government’s responsiveness towards promoting inclusive education. This is disheartening to all well meaning Nigerians and we urge the government to reconsider and rescind its decision. 
“It’s ridiculous that the increase is coming at a time when the country is back economically, developmental indices and figures are not friendly, a country with an unemployment rate of about 33.2 %, inflation rate of about 15%, exchange rate of over 400 Naira to a dollar (Government-Regulated Rate), such increase in a country in which most of its citizens are living below poverty line would have negative implications for human capital development.

“If the fees hike is not reviewed downward, it might force many students to drop out of school and increase social vices, as students might be compelled to survive by all means.
“We, therefore, urge governments at all levels to revert to the old fee to enable students from poor and marginalised families to access tertiary education and break the chain of poverty.
“Finally, while we appeal to the students to be law abiding and not to take law into their hands in the quest to seek reversal of the fee increase, we equally pray that the government will listen to the cry of innocent Nigerian students, within three weeks, to avoid speaking in a language that the government understand best. All state Coordinators should be at alert for further directives from the national secretariat.”

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