By Daniel Kelechi and Junaid Ameerah
Many students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) have shunned the protest-a-thon announced by students under the aegis of the Student Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike.
The group had earlier announced September 13 as the commencement date for the protest in which they will not retreat until the Management of UNILAG addresses their concern by reversing the new increment in obligatory fees paid by the students of the institution.
Our correspondent who was at the venue of the protest-a-thon reported that only several protesters were present bearing placards with different inscriptions like “Unilag is a public school and not a profit-oriented institution, I don’t want to drop out, I cannot afford this fee,” among others.
The security officer’s high-handedness during the first protest, which held on 6 September 2023, influenced many students in opting to stay away from the protest-a-thon.
Recall that during the initial protest, the management of UNILAG positioned men of the Nigeria Police Force at the main gate of the school to prevent protesters from gaining entrance into the school premises.
The police later used tear gas and canisters to disperse the protesters, arrested some of the leaders of the protest, and released them after a public outcry.
Some of the students who do not want their names in print when asked why they shunned the
protest-a-thon said, “They treated us like thieves the last time, I can’t lose my life for a school
that doesn’t care about me.”
His colleague said, “Even if we protest with our ID cards, they will still say we are not students. This is Nigeria, they shot people protesting at Lekki toll gates and denied till today.”
However, UNILAG management said in a Press Release that they remain open to dialogue.
The University Management reiterates its commitment to quality education and producing graduates who are future-ready and beacons of excellence.
Whether fees will fall or this will be the end of the protest against fee hikes, only time will tell.