Not again! You would say, following the violent protests by some students of UNIPORT on Monday, over the no-tuition-fee–no examination policy and fee hike recently introduced by the University management, the school’s Senate has announced the closure of the institution.
Spokesman and Deputy Registrar of the University of Port Harcort, Williams Wodi, made the announcement on Monday evening, directing students to leave their accommodations before 6:00 pm, adding that the closure will last one month. Also, Students’ Union and all their affiliate bodies were suspended with immediate effect.
The students carrying placards in protest, blocked the East-West inter-state highway, demanding the withdrawal of the policy, which they argued, was unfair to poor students.
In 2015, UNIPORT management adopted a policy which made tuition fee a prerequisite for student’s participation in examination, a policy which compelled defaulting students to repeat an entire academic session.
The protest though initially started on a peaceful note, caused heavy vehicular gridlock with the Police maintaining presence to forestall a possible breakdown of law and order, but it later turned violent with the students in their hundreds, destroying school property.
Reports say two students of the institution were feared dead during the protest. One of the students identified as Peter Ofurun, who was said to have been hit by a bullet from a policeman, died instantly.
Dr. William Wodi, explained that the protest was not about increase in fees, but about a few students, who wanted to take exams without paying the N45,000 school fees.
Wodi said that while 98 per cent of students had paid and ready to sit for the exams, the two per cent remaining refused to pay, even after extending the deadline on five occasions.
Maintaining that the fee was not new to the students, Wodi added that the immediate past administration had directed that no University should charge beyond N45,000 as fee.
Similarly in Benue state, protesting students of Benue State University in Makurdi, have shutdown the university campus and the Makurdi-Gboko federal highway over a 100% school fee increment for new entrants.
The President of the Student Union Government, Mr. Ojime Martins, said that the increment from N62,000 to over 130,000 Naira for law students was outrageous. The students are demanding a reversal to the old school fees.