UNJUST INCREMENT IN LASU SCHOOL FEE; DEMAND FOR IMMEDIATE, IMPERATIVE REVERSAL TO STATUS QUO ANTE
As an upshot of the recent draconian and Machiavellian increase in the school fees of LAGOS STATE UNIVERSITY, we the executive council of NANS JCC LAGOS and PROGRESSIVE STUDENTS MOVEMENT as conscious human, who feels the direct painful impact of this inhumane managerial decision, with the mandate of our members, the executives of the above named and renowned student organization saddled with the paramount function of promotion and protection of best possible students’ welfarism in LAGOS hereby officially demand for an instantaneous reversal of school fees for regular students to N25,000 and a total collapse of the stream two program to equate stream one.
In this age and time of global civilization in modern democracy, it is anticlimactic for the management of LASU to continue to incorrigibly adopt a dictatorial affront in policy formation and decision making especially without requisite consent of the Students who are target audience of such decision.
It is elementary and universally trite that as an offshoot of the doctrine of social contract, just as the existence of the government of a country and that of the populace is never mutually exclusive, so can no management of a TERTIARY INSTITUTION survive without symbiotic relationship with the students. If not for gross contumacious egocentrism and inextinguishable crave to amass wealth at the expense of the masses, what in God’s name could be the rationale behind this villainous decision?
We have compelling facts and figures,
The introduction of stream 2 admission process at the Lagos State University (LASU) which offers a B.SC and B.A. fulltime programme with certificate in 79 entrepreneurial courses. According to the publication on LASU website, the tuition fee for the newly introduced special programme is N150, 000 as against the normal B.SC, B.A & B.ED full-time programme which tuition fee is N25, 000.
We condemn this new programme tuition fee as it is a ploy to commercialize education, exploit admission seekers and their poor parents and prepare the way for the wholesale increase in the tuition fees of all undergraduate and post graduate students in LASU.
LASU is one University maintaining same standard of facilities, teaching and non-teaching staff for all category of students be it undergraduate or post graduate. Therefore there is no justifiable basis to create a new class of students who pay higher class of tuition fee while using the same standard of facility and academic resources as other students who pay less. Let it be also known to the general public that six years before now after a Federal Government and Ministry Education policy made it compulsory the entrepreneurial education be injected into all academic curriculums from primary to tertiary level. Since then LASU as be running this 79 compulsory entrepreneurship courses for her year two students as a two units course. The theories are taught in the first semester while the practical is taught and assessed during the second semester.
This kind of Apartheid system of education has no place in our modern university system. We therefore demand an immediate reversal of the tuition fee to N25, 000 flat rate as paid by all LASU students regardless of their course of study. Instead, we call for more work to be done in improving the quantity and quality of education and in the frastructure available as well as increased governments funding in LASU.
Recall that just in 2014, Lagos State Government under the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola reversed the hike LASU fee from N350, 000 and N180, 000 back to N25, 000 due to pressure from the mass protests and agitation by LASU students, staff and civil society organizations. It was this struggle popularly tagged #SaveLASU that created the conditions for Lagosians and others to have more access to Lagos State owned public university education and the increased governments subvention to LASU. However, Five years after this reversal, the LASU management under the administration of Prof. Lanre Fagbohun is set to return LASU and Lagosians to its experience during the period of fee hike between (2011-2014) with the introduction of N150, 000 tuition fee programme to satisfy their greed and that of their state executives cronies.
Yes greed because, LASU receives up-to half a billion Naira subvention from Lagos State Government every month – https://www.thecable.ng/asuu-lasu-rejects-new-acceptance-fee-students , a sum which is the highest subvention paid by any government in southwest Nigeria. Also, LASU had received 3 billion Naira TETFUND support – https://www.lasuforum.com.ng/p/1171/lasu-received-n3b-for-tetfund-vc-charges-lasu-community-to-b , this is aside all other internally generated revenue from other programmes and activities like ANNUAL N25,000 SCHOOL FEES OF OVER 40,000 FULL-TIME STUDENTS, N20,000 ACCEPTANCE FEES FOR OVER 4,500 FULL-TIME FRESHER STUDENTS, N150,000 ANNUALLY FROM OVER 500 DIPLOMA STUDENTS, ANNUAL N76,000 SCHOOL FEES OF OVER 10,000 SANDWICH STUDENTS, N50,000 ANNUAL ACCEPTANCE FEE OF OVER 2000 SANDWICH FRESHER STUDENTS, N250,000 ANNUAL FEES OF OVER 200 JUPEB INTAKES, N250,000 ANNUAL TOTAL PACKAGE FEES OF OVER 300 PREDEGREE INTAKES, OVER N300,000 MADE ANNUALLY FROM ABOUT 700 POSTGRADUATE AND DOCTORATE STUDENTS AND MISCELLANEOUS REVENUE LEGALLY AND ILLEGALLY GENERATED FROM ON-CAMPUS SPACE ALLOCATION, LEASE OF LAND FOR FARMING, ADMISSION SCREENING FEE in the coffers of LASU. Despite the fact that all the infrastructural projects commissioned in all campuses of LASU is either 90% sponsored by private sector/individual or government while the rest are public/private partnership.
Therefore, giving all these resources available to LASU compared with all other state owned varsities, LASU management under the administration of Prof. Lanre Fagbohun is being callous, greedy and anti-people for increasing fees such as graduating students service charge, the acceptance fee, introduction of medical fee charge and again introducing a special programme with N150,000 as tuition fee.
Infact, we call for public scrutiny of Prof. Lanre Fagbohun-led management of LASU should in case they want to argue that, lack of adequate financial resources or that LASU is the only state university that charges N25,000 as tuition fee as the reasons for jacking of the special programme fee to N150, 000. We believe, if the resources in the coffers of the University are properly, judiciously and democratically managed to give priorities to students’ and workers’ needs, LASU should have advanced beyond its present state.
Therefore, if the undergraduate students admitted under this stream 2 admission process are going to be using the same inadequate an decaying infrastructures as well as the same inadequate and over-burdened teaching and non-teaching staff then what is the justification for their outrageous tuition fee of N150, 000 while other students pay N25, 000? As we have always argued, the Prof. Fagbohun-led administration in connivance with the Lagos State government have been nursing the agenda to turn back the hands of time by increasing fees through the backdoor. But they have always been afraid of provoking mass opposition given that the #SaveLASU struggle of 2014 is still very much fresh in their memory. This is the reason why they have been trying to destroy ASUU LASU through dismissal of at least five (5) of its key leaders. Those who know their history will recall that ASUU LASU played a leading role in the struggle to reverse the fees in 2014. This is also why the management rigged the last four years Students Union election in order to ensure that those who cannot challenge their anti-poor agenda are in position of students’ leadership.
The stream 2 admission process, an Apartheid admission process which artificially divides students into classes in order to destroy the unanimity of students and the Students Union, is nothing but a ploy to pave the way for a total increase in the tuition of all students at some point in the not-so-distant future.
It is in view of this that NANS JCC LAGOS AND PRC condemns the introduction of special programme with N150, 000 tuition fee by LASU management led by Prof. Lanre Fagbohun. This decision amount to avarice and it is a ploy to deny Lagosians and other admission seekers access to the state owned university and reduce the quality of education provided in LASU as well as to extort admission seekers and their poor working parents.
If this fee hike is allowed, then before long LASU will be back to pre-2014 period when the University almost became a ghost town as a result of its rapid loss of new student intakes due to the astronomical increase in fees. To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed. We hereby urge the Lagos State University Students Union (LASUSU) to immediately convene a congress of students in order to allow the mass of students to democratically discuss this development and agree on what should be done to fight for the reversal of the fee.
Additionally, as an ever-reasonable association, on the benefit of doubt, we hereby use this press statement to accord LASU MANAGEMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT OF LAGOS STATE the requisite respect and give room for an avenue where we can both table our reasons cum aspirations and deliberate to determine if, just maybe if, we can reach a reconciliation ground.
The expediency of this round table conversation is necessitated by the growing agitation of our over one million empathetic members in tertiary institutions in Lagos, seven million incidental members in primary and secondary schools, about two thousand affected members and around four thousand incipient yet predestined members and their parents, against this discombobulating and dispiriting decision in a time when genuinely compassionate world leaders and organizational heads are identifying with the masses and dosing out soft packages and alleviative policies to assuage this global trying time on citizens of the world. It is now visible to the blind that neither LASU management nor the government of Lagos State is ever benignant especially concerning this current issue at hand.
From the point of trite law, Section 18(1) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution requires all governments in Nigeria to provide equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels for all Nigerian citizens. It provides thus:
18(1) Government shall direct its policy towards Ensuring that there are *equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels.
(3) Government shall strive to eradicate illiteracy; and to this end Government shall as and when practicable provide
(a) Free, compulsory and universal primary education;
(b) Free secondary education;
(c) Free university education; and
(d) Free adult literacy programme.
Irrespective of the provisions of Section 6(6) (c) of the 1999 Constitution, some provisions of Chapter 2 of the Constitution will become enforceable if the Constitution provides otherwise in another section. It is further submitted in decided cases of the Supreme Court that where the National Assembly enacts a law on any Section or sections of Chapter 2 of the Constitution, such section(s) will become automatically enforceable. Refer to the Cases of Olafisoye v FRN(2004) 4 NWLR(Pt. 864) 580 and A.G. Ondo State v A.G. Federation(2002) 9 NWLR(Pt. 772) 222, per Uwaifo, J.S.C. Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) GTE & LTD v Federal Ministry of Education & Anor (Ruling)DR BASIL UKAEGBU v. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF IMO STATE (SC 83/1982)  8 (30 March 1983);ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION v. ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF ABIA STATE AND 35 OTHERS (SC 28/2001)  4 (05 April 2002);ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF ABIA STATE and 2 OTHERS v. ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION and 33 OTHERS (SC 121/2005)  4 (07 July 2006);Attorney General of Abia State and Others v Attorney General of the Federation and Others (SC 99/2005, SC 121/2005, SC 216/2005 CONSOLIDATED) NGSC 36 (7 July 2006)
The Constitution itself has placed the entire chapter II under the Exclusive Legislative list. By this, it simply means that all the Directive Principles need not remain mere or pious declarations… Uwaifo JSC A.G ONDO v AG FEDERATION.
Therefore it is a constitutional mandate that Governments have the legal duty and responsibility under Section 13 of the constitution to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of Chapter two of the constitution. Section 13 of the 1999 constitution provides that:
“13. It shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government, and of all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers, to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this Chapter of this constitution.”
Invariably the Federal and state governments (through the doctrine of inconsistency and covering the field) are therefore, under constitutional obligation to provide financial and institutional resources for free, compulsory education for TERTIARY EDUCATION. Be this as it may we are not asking for too much, the payment of twenty-five thousand per session is uneasy but bearable hence we demand that status quo ante be maintained across boards.
Considering the variant of fees paid by stream one and stream two students, this development amounts to an audacious constitutional infraction of the phrase “equal and adequate educational opportunities”. We are therefore unapologetically in vehement opposition to this form of constructive discrimination in this egalitarian society too. We submit that it is a deliberate disregard to Section 42 of our Constitution.
In view of the whooping sum of internally generated revenue annually declared by LASU and LAGOS STATE, the derogatory expression “as and when practicable” in section 18 is totally out of the picture in this matter, thus making this new increment irrational and an insatiably gluttonous action on the part of the management of LASU and LAGOS state government.
In other to prevent the fresh rise of what will appear to be anti-managerial/anti-lagos-government infliction of affliction by the students wing, we sincerely beseech you and hope that you swallow your gargantuan ego to under 72 hours, honour this peaceful overture of olive branch so that what happened in 2014 will not repeat itself. As of this moment, we are still LASU and we are yet proud but when we are pushed to the wall like this we will only dare to Struggle and dare to win because you have awakened the ever-konigba beast in us.