Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Kolawole Taiwo, was on Tuesday booed by students of Lagos State University (LASU) who stormed the House protesting hike in school fees.
The protesting students, who came with various placards and chanting various anti-government songs, denounced what they described as outrageous and highly exorbitant school fees being charged in the institution.
They were accompanied by rights groups, including Joint Action Front (JAF) and Education Rights Campaign (ERC).
Some of the placards had ‘Education is a right not a privilege,’ ‘Adequate funding of education is non-negotiable’ and ‘Reverse the fees now,’ among others.
The protesters, who appeared not satisfied with the explanation offered by the deputy speaker as to what led to the hike in the school fees to N250,000 and the remedy adopted by the state government as well as the steps being taken by the assembly, booed the lawmaker, asking him not to tell them lies anymore.
They abused and rained curses on the administrators and the government, accusing the assembly as collaborators in the plot to deny them right to affordable education.
Mr Hassan Soweto of Education Rights Campaign (ERC), who spoke on behalf of the students, blamed the ongoing crises rocking LASU on tuition fees of N250,000 charged per student, saying that indigent students had had to go through hell.
“I want to tell you that the hike in school fees in 2011 is the root cause of the recurrent crises in LASU. The fee is one of the most expensive in the entire country.
“We think the House has acted in error. It is unfair to put all the blames on students. This is against the claims by the party that calls itself the progressive; it is undemocratic, it is unacceptable,” Soweto added.
He also charged the state government to reverse the school fees and make them affordable to Nigerian parents.
Soweto, who recalled the intervention of the assembly in the crises rocking LASU, accused the lawmakers of bias in their judgement for putting all the blames on the students rather than addressing the actual problem affecting the institution.
In his address, the Secretary General of the Joint Action Front (JAF), Abiodun Aremu, urged the House to reverse the high fees as part of its responsibilities and duties.
Aremu argued that it was unfortunate that the state government was aggravating the problem instead of finding ways to resolve the issue.
“Our students have the right to attend universities,” he declared, saying that N250,000 in 50,000 places could not amount to 10 per cent of Lagos State annual budget.
“University must not be run by dictators; the fees must be reversed. The demand is non-negotiable,” he declared.
The Deputy Speaker, Honourable Taiwo, in his response, said it was unfair for the protesters to accuse the assembly of bias in the LASU crises.
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