A former Member of the Federal House of Representatives, and 2019 Gubernatorial Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State. Hon. Isa Mohammed Ashiru, has called for the immediate reversal of tuition fee hike in Kaduna tertiary institutions.
In a statement he issued on Monday, Ashiru said “The unbelievably high increase of tuition fees for the students of the Kaduna State University (KASU) and other tertiary institutions owned by the Kaduna State Government in total disregard of the loud public outcry against the decision is one of the boldest proofs of the insensitivity of Governor Nasiru Ahmed el-Rufa’i Administration to the interests and welfare of the people.
“By the hike of the fees for KASU students from less than 50,000 naira to not less than 150,000 naira per student and from less than less than 40,000 naira to not less than 75,000 naira for every student of any of the other tertiary institutions as announced by the Commissioner for Education, Dr Shehu Usman Mohammed, the Kaduna State Government has only added to the high number of its anti-people policies.
“In fact, the increase of the fees at this time when the parents and guardians of the students of those institutions are experiencing severe financial constraints as a result of the introduction of harsh measures by the Administration in the State clearly indicates a complete disregard for the basic needs of the people.
“The State Government must have known that a great majority of the parents will definitely not be able to bear the cost which therefore means that their children will be denied access to higher education.
“Already, the KASU branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has revealed that up to about 75 percent of the students of the institution must have to withdraw from the institution because their parents can not continue to sponsor them.
“The Union’s further revelation that even before the announcement of the outrageous increase, a lot of the students had to literally resort to begging or indulge in some immoral acts before they could pay the fees re-enforces the fear that the hope of millions of youths in Kaduna State for a better future has been crudely dashed.
“Having fully realized the grave danger that the increase of the tuition fees portends for the students and by extension, the people of Kaduna State and other Nigerians, I wish to strongly call for its immediate reversal as demanded by a lot of well-meaning individuals and groups within and outside the State.
“As I already stated, the hike is a complete denial of the people’s right to education as guaranteed by democracy and should therefore be withdrawn in order to avoid the unpleasant consequences that it may cause the entire society.
“The principle of over-commercialization of education and other critical social services to which the el-Rufa’i Administration openly subscribes is inherently inimical to the pressing need for peace, security and genuine development in our dear Kaduna State.
“This provides the basis for me to express my total disapproval of the continuous attempt by the current leadership in the State to make profit-making the sole purpose for which a democratic government exists
“In the particular case of KASU,it is important to remind the current Kaduna State Governmnt and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that the institution was established in 2004 during the tenure of former Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the purpose of providing the people of the State with the ample opportunity to acquire university education at an affordable cost.
“It has already been established that the achievements recorded by the university in terms of its quality graduates, research findings and delivery of community services are a strong justification for its establishment 17 years ago.
“It is on the basis of this fact that I am making the call for the reversal of the increase of the tuition fees so that all the qualified young men and women of Kaduna State and other Nigerians can continue to benefit from the numerous academic programmes of the university and the other tertiary institutions of the State Government.
“Rather than increase the fees, the students should be provided with all the necessary support to enable them pursue their academic career without hindrance.”