ABAKALIKI-EBONYI state government Thursday shut down its own institution, Ebonyi state University, EBSU, Abakaliki over the multiple protests that had plagued the University since the commencement of this year’s academic session by the students who are demanding a reduction in tuition fees.
The latest protest that broke the back of the camel this week as when the protesting students temporally brought commercial and social activities to a halt in various parts of the state capital as they engaged the anti-riot policemen in bloody face off, which was coming barely two weeks after similar protest.
The students, who came under heavy teargas attack from men of the Nigerian Police in the state, were protesting alleged hike in their tuition fees as a bus belonging to the Students Union Government (SUG) of the institution was allegedly burnt down by the angry students.
The Vice Chancellor of the EBSU, Professor Francis Idike who announced the closure of the University said it was necessary considering the tension the protesting students had created across the state. He argued that if the institution was not closed immediately it might lead to a new wave of insecurity in the state.
This came as the Governor of the state, Chief Martin Elechi directed top echelon of the institution to immediately shut down the University. He added that the institution would be shut down as long as necessary so as to allow peace and tranquillity to reign in the
Elechi who spoke on during a town hall meeting with his Commissioners, local government Chairmen and other stakeholders at Women Development Centre, Abakaliki alleged that the violent acts exhibited by the protesting students could have been influenced by yet-to-be determined factors and persons in the state.
The Governor further explained that education was neither free nor cheap anywhere and that the University authority, as the manager of the institution was in the best position to determine what fees should be paid by students of the institution.
It would be recalled that the protesting students who were stopped by the Anti-riot officers of the state police command were seen carrying placards with inscriptions saying “We want Normal price” “Mr. Governor its 60/40 or nothing” “Don’t try our patience”, amongst others.
They alleged that they are being forced to pay school fees between N88, 000 (for indigenes) and 130,000 (for non-indigenes) depending on one’s department.
“When we were in year one they said we should pay N88,000 for indigenes and N130,000 for non-indigenes which they said is for only first year students while other regular students paid N40,000 and N60,000. They said we would revert to the normal school fees when we get to second year only for them to now tell us to continue with the fees we paid in year one”.