The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has vehemently condemned the recent surge in tuition fees at public tertiary institutions, including the alarming increases witnessed at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and the University of Lagos (UniLag). HURIWA views these hikes as oppressive measures that threaten the fundamental right to quality education, labeling them as anti-poor and anti-people.
HURIWA also condemned the use of force by the police, particularly in Lagos State, to suppress students’ right to peaceful protests, asserting that it reflects a disturbing slide towards dictatorship. “These fee hikes, including OAU’s shocking 300% increase, have placed an enormous financial burden on students and their families.
“Students from various faculties now face exorbitant fees, with new students in Arts, Law, and Humanities required to pay N151,200, while returning students grapple with a hike from N23,000 to N89,200. Similar substantial increases affect students in the Faculties of Technology, Science, Health Sciences, and Pharmacy.
“The decision to raise fees has sparked widespread outrage, prompting peaceful protests by students exercising their democratic right to dissent. HURIWA firmly stands in support of these student protests against these unjust fee hikes and condemns any undue use of force or intimidation by the police”.
HURIWA warned that if these exorbitant fees are not promptly reversed, they may lead to nationwide unrest. The right to education must be prioritized, as it is a cornerstone of national development and a beacon of hope for all Nigerians. HURIWA called on authorities at OAU, UniLag, and other institutions to reconsider these decisions and ensure accessible, quality education for all, regardless of socioeconomic background.
In conclusion, HURIWA emphasized that the fee hikes perpetuate poverty and demand their immediate reversal, putting the welfare and future of Nigerian youth first.