How We Rejected FG N1million Proposed School Fees for Varsity Students -Osodeke

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We Have Not Suspended Our Strike Action Yet - ASUU
ASUU President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke

Emmanuel Osodeke, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, has revealed how the union rejected the Federal Government’s plan to raise all university students’ school fees to N1 million at the last round of discussions.

He said the government’s aim was to form an education bank and offer each student a N1 million annual loan with a 5% interest rate to help them pay for school, which they would then repay when they graduated and began working.

This was revealed by Osodeke while responding to questions from attendees at a one-day’state of the nation conference’ organized by the Bauchi zone of the union for ASUU members.

He said, “At the last negotiation, the first thing they told us was that we should negotiate for our allowances and salaries but we said no, let’s discuss funding first. When we know how much you’re going to pay, then we can negotiate salary. Reluctantly, they went on.

“We said we will never allow that, and that was why we went on strike and we delayed in calling off the strike.

“If we had accepted that students pay N1m as school fees, they would have increased our pay easily and who would the public and the students blame? It is ASUU.”

People would have blamed them of battling for their own personal interests rather than the collective benefit of Nigerians if they had taken the offer, according to Osodeke.

“Then they raised another concern, which was the reason for the four-year delay: students must pay N1 million in annual school fees; the government declared 70% would go to the university and 30% would go to the student.

“We asked them where and how the students would source the money and they told us not to worry. They said they would open an education bank and the students would go there and take the N1m every year.

“And by the time you are graduating, you would have been owing N5m or N6m. If it takes you 20 years to get a job, that five per cent interest on that loan would be building.

“We said we will never allow that, and that was why we went on strike and we delayed in calling off the strike.

“If we had accepted that students pay N1m as school fees, they would have increased our pay easily and who would the public and the students blame? It is ASUU.”

People would have blamed them of battling for their own personal interests rather than the collective benefit of Nigerians if they had taken the offer, Osodeke stated.

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