…Poised for a protest rally.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Kaduna State indigent students have expressed “deepest disappointment” in the State’s Deputy Governor, Mrs Hadiza Balarabe, over her alleged attendances concerning the hike in tuition fees in all the State-owned higher institutions by the government.
The students’ wing of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) made the assertion in a statement issued on Wednesday and made available to journalists in Kaduna, titled ‘Student Brace Up for More Demonstrations Against New School Fees.’
The statement, signed by Comr. Jeremiah Ambi, SOKAPU Student PRO and Comr. Kogi Theophilus G, SOKAPU Student Coordinator, also called on all indigent students of the State-owned higher institutions to get ready for rally over increase in fees when called.
The students explained that they had admired the Deputy Governor from afar with inspiration that she was a moderate politician to help by easing some of the harsh policies of the current El-Rufai-led government.
Accordingly, they also stated that, “We are deeply disappointed by her utterances. We had admired her from afar with inspiration. We thought she was a moderate politician helping to ease some of the harsh policies of this government.”
According to them, they met the Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarebe, and some officials of the state, adding that “The Deputy Governor, who is to be seen as a mother to us and one who has been trained from Primary to the University by the Kaduna State Government for free, dismissed the massive increment as “small” to the KASU Students representatives, who went to solicit for a reduction in the fees.
“We expected her to show compassion for the children of the widows and the less-privileged among us. It is unfortunate that she is part of this inhuman increment,” they lamented.
The students also stated that, “It now appears that the School Management of KASU has infiltrated the leadership of the Student Union Government (SUG). For example, the student in the faculty of pharmaceutical sciences took an undertaking with their records, date, signed by each student of the faculty, that, if they are involved in any demonstrations, they will be expelled from the institution.
“In the case of Nuhu Bamali, it has been gathered that their final year students are focused on graduating this year and, as such, they are frustrating the peaceful demonstration against a wicked increment that will spell doom for our future. This is worrisome, as it is a sign of fear and defeat even before a struggle has began.
“We shouldn’t be deceived or intimidated to allow this rise in tuition fees become a reality. Like Martin Luther King Jnr said, ‘We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.’
“If we don’t stand together with a voice, the new fees will force most of us to drop out of school. If we don’t stand up against this unacceptable hike in school fees and we are forced to drop out of school, our next generation will also have no hope to further their education. No honour will be accorded to us by the next generation.
“What surprises and worry us the more is that we have our representatives at the Kaduna State House of Assembly that have never said anything concerning this serious matter.
“We are calling them to order to intervene against this hike. If they continue to be dormant, we will ensure that they are made politically irrelevant at the next election,” they stated.
The SOKAPU wing, therefore, called on the students of Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya; School of Health, Makarfi; College of Nursing and Midwifery, Kafanchan; Kaduna State University and Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, etc., to be ready for the next call for a peaceful rally against this injustice.
“Let’s be ready when called upon to join in the gathering of students of honour and courage as we remain peaceful and civil,” it added.
According to them, “It is no longer news that Kaduna State Government has increased the tuition fee of all its tertiary schools last month by at least 500%. This has made Kaduna State-owned higher institutions to be far the most expensive among the states in Nigeria, despite the serious poverty of our parents.
“This increment caught the over 15,000 Kaduna State students in higher institutions at home unawares and, if it stands, this will mean the end of the educational career of majority of us.
“You may recall that students of Kaduna State University (KASU), against all odds, staged a peaceful demonstration within the school for days. What they got from the School Management was that they should ‘go and do their worst.’
“The students braced up and started a peaceful match to Kaduna State Government House, but were intercepted by the Nigerian Police and other security agencies.
“They aborted the peaceful match even after they had been informed beforehand. Three representatives of students were picked to go and represent them at the Government House,” they stated.