Students in Ekiti State on Thursday trooped to the streets to protest against high school fees in state-owned institutions.
Acting under the aegis of the Federation of Ekiti State Students Union and the National Association of Nigeria Students, they said the policies introduced by Governor Ayodele Fayose were anti-masses.
They carried placards with various inscriptions including, ‘Ekiti Students Pass Vote of No Confidence in Fayose’, ‘Primary/Secondary Education Must Be Free in Ekiti’, ‘Ekiti Bursary, Nothing But A Scam’, ‘Blackout in Ekiti State University’, ‘College of Education, Ikere Ekiti Fees Must Be Reduced’, and ‘No To N50,000 Acceptance Fee at College of Health Technology, Ijero’.
They said they chose to stage the protest on the 19th anniversary of the creation of Ekiti State to send a message that all was not well in the state and to kick against “bad government policies” in education sector.
The protest caused a huge traffic snarl at Ijigbo roundabout with some officers of the Department of State Services on hand to prevent hoodlums from hijacking the protest.
FESSU National President, Peter Obayemi, lamented that students no longer had access to bursary from the state government, accusing officials of the state scholarship board of underhand dealings.
Obayemi claimed that he was detained on the orders of a top government official over his agitation for the payment of bursary to Ekiti students at the State Scholarship Board.
He said the student bodies would no longer tolerate intimidation by any government official, no matter how highly placed, saying the Fayose-led administration had already declared war on students by its actions so far.
Obayemi said, “We should let the whole world know that Ekiti State government has neglected students. They organised Education Summit and they refused to invite students and instead they invited artisans, okada riders and market women.
“We are saying no to privatisation of public schools in Ekiti. We reject all sorts of fees that have been reintroduced in public schools.
“Government used to pay WAEC fees for students; this government says it will no longer pay WAEC fees. We reject all these anti-student and anti-education policies.
“Many students have lost the joy of being admitted to the College of Health Science and Technology, Ijero Ekiti, as they were unable to pay the N50,000 acceptance fee before the deadline.
“The Ijero College of Health Science and Technology is the only school in Nigeria paying such an outrageous acceptance fee of N50,000 that is non-refundable and this does not guarantee their admission.”
A NANS executive member, Oluwabunmi Aduloju, condemned the detention of FESSU boss on the order of the state government for agitating for the students’ bursary.
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