By Comr. Jeremiah Ambi (SOKAPU Student PRO); Comr. Kogi Theophilus G.(SOKAPU, Student Coordinator)
It is no longer news that Kaduna state government has increased the tuition fee of all it’s tertiary schools last month by at least, 500% . This has made Kaduna state owned Higher Institution 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 peacefull 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 before hand. Three representatives of students were picked to go and represent them at the government House.
They met the Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarebe and some officials of the state.
The Deputy Governor who is to be seen as a mother to us and one who haven 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 are deeply disappointed by her utterances. We had admired her from afar with inspiration. We thought she was a moderate politician helping ease some of the harsh policies of this government. 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.
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 raise in tuition fees become a reality. Like Martin Lurther 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.
In conclusion, we call 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. Stronger together