Thursday 23 January 2014


Reopen LASU Now!

ERC Demands Immediate Reversal of Hiked Fees!!
                                                                  Press Statement

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) demands the immediate re-opening of the Lagos State University (LASU). We also demand opening of the University’s portal for the 1, 292 students of the University to register so they can participate in the second semester examinations.

However LASU can only begin to know peace when the remote cause of the crisis rocking the University which is actually the hike of tuition fees beyond what ordinary working class people can afford is resolved through an immediate reversal. Any effort of the State Assembly to resolve the on-going crisis in LASU will fail if it does not address the question of fee hike. We in the ERC demand an immediate reversal of the hiked fees and the drastic increase of the state budgetary provision for the funding of LASU and other state-owned schools.

The ERC does not support violence as a method of struggle and agitation. Yet we hold that the protest of LASU students was justified.

The degeneration of the protest is on the one hand a reflection of the widespread frustration being felt by most students of LASU, especially 100 and 200 level students, who find it increasingly difficult to afford the high cost of tuition in the institution. On the other hand, the crisis is a reflection of the highhandedness of the University’s Vice chancellor and members of his kitchen cabinet who believe they can ride roughshod on students of the University.

We place the blame for the degeneration of the crisis on the shoulders of the Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. Oladapo Obafunwa who rebuffed a peaceful plea of students a day earlier (Wednesday 22 January 2014) and told them emphatically they would not write the second semester examinations. This is particularly sadistic on the part of the Vice Chancellor as he did not consider the pain, anguish and deprivations parents of the few students still remaining in LASU today go through before gathering the hundreds of thousands being charged as tuition fee. Had the VC listened to students plea and done the needful, the crisis of Thursday 23 January 2014 would have been avoided. By his insensitive and sadistic refusal to listen to the students plea, the Vice Chancellor forced students to take the only course of action available to them to avoid repeat of the semester. It is ridiculous that the same Vice Chancellor who could not agree to open the University portal just for 24 hours has now closed down the University indefinitely!

We condemn the invitation of armed police to suppress the protest of students. In the process lives of students have been endangered with some students already sustaining injuries as a result of the rash intervention of the police who shot teargas indiscriminately.

What is behind this crisis is the unjust hike of the payable fees in the University nearly three years ago by the anti-poor Fashola administration. Fees were increased to between N193, 750 and N358, 750 depending on the courses of study while the minimum wage earnings stood at a paltry N18,000. By this action, the Lagos State government shut the door of University education on the faces of working class Lagosians thus precipitating the crisis we are currently witnessing in the institution.

We support the opinion expressed by ASUU that LASU is now the most expensive University in Nigeria. LASU's fee hike is not only outrageous, it has become a single factor curtailing, limiting and reversing the progress and development of the University. This is a shame to the Lagos State Government and the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Nearly three years after LASU fees was hiked by the Lagos State government with the support of a toothless State Assembly, the University has become a shadow of its former self. With record-level annual decline in admission applicants and closure of faculties and programs, the jobs of the University's academic and non-academic staff are now threatened. Many projects are abandoned and University now gives the impression of a dying edifice thanks to the anti-poor and anti-education policies of the Fashola administration.

Unfortunately the ERC in numerous public statements and petitions warned of this same unsavoury outcome but the Fashola government, true to its characteristic disdain for public opinion including the opinion of the students of the university and their poor parents, turned a deaf ear.

We warn that unless the hiked fees are quickly reversed, no matter the value of the developmental achievement Governor Fashola may lay claim to when he leaves office, the carcass of LASU would be the only visible sign and legacy of his administration.

Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                                                    Michael Ogundele
National Coordinator                                                                      National Secretary
07033697259                                                                                      07066249160

No comments: