The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, in response to student protests over arbitrary increases in tuition fees by university authorities, stated that the Federal Government is working to harmonize tuition fees in all federal universities.
“Since the protests started, we have summoned the authorities of the universities and sat down with them and we are going to harmonize everything. Because, I think it is N45,000 that is the maximum that should be charged. I know in some places, there has been other arrangements. But the ministry would harmonize everything and I believe there will be no more protests over fees.”
Following students’ protests over increase in tuition fees, lack of water and power supply on campuses, universities of Lagos, Ibadan and Port Harcourt were recently shut down. The Minister said that the Federal Government was discussing with management of the affected universities. He also added that efforts were also ongoing to introduce harmonized fees for all federal universities.
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He however explained that the government did not have the power to regulate fees in private universities.
“First, I will agree with you that they charge exorbitant fees. But I wish I had the power to do something about it. If I had the power I would stop them. But I think the thing is being treated like a market where you buy what you can afford. But I do believe the government should intervene.”
He attributed the peace among the staff unions of universities under the Buhari administration, to honest and vibrant partnership with the unions. According to him, “ASUU and the other unions are very patriotic people who are concerned about the state of education in Nigeria. And most of what they do is motivated by this belief. So, as far as I am concerned, they have got fellow travelers in this administration. I believe the president and his ministers are really passionate about education. And they would want to do everything to make education succeed. ASUU and the administration are going in the same line. So, we would not have a ground to disagree. We are not waiting for unions to strike before we go to them. So, we are already making the approach to all the unions. So, I think there would be no strikes.”
The federal government on its own part, he said, would not slack on its commitment to implementing the NEEDS Assessment Report by releasing N200 billion annually.