Tuition Hike: FG urges students not to disrupt academic session with unrest

The Federal Government has urged students, parents, and lecturers in institutions of higher learning in Nigeria to shun acts capable of disrupting the academic session as a result of tuition hikes by some institutions.

Minister of State for Education, Honourable Tanko Yusuf Sununu, who made the appeal ahead of the resumption of academic activities in tertiary institutions, said the show of restraint is in the interest of all stakeholders and system stability.

He spoke when the leadership of the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) paid him a courtesy call, a statement by the Director of press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Mr Ben Bem Goong, said on Friday in Abuja.

 It would be recalled that the last administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari had, in the wake of the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), formerly registered three rival unions with the aim of diminishing the powers and intransigent disposition of ASUU leading to frequent strike actions by the union in the universities.

The three newly registered unions, which were subsequently recognised and affirmed as trade unions in Nigerian universities by the Court, are the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).

The Minister noted that his Ministry was having constructive dialogue and consultation with stakeholders over the welfare of students and staff and providing infrastructure in tertiary institutions.

Acknowledging that strikes and non-use of facilities could lead to rapid infrastructural decay, Sununu promised that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu would do everything humanly possible to avoid any situation that could lead to strikes.

Speaking earlier, the President of the Congress of University Academics, comrade Niyi Sunmonu, alerted the Minister of the likelihood of student unrest occasioned by the new increase in school fees, which he said has the potential to disrupt academic activities and the school calendar.

The union also appealed to the government to look into ways of improving the condition of service of academic and non-academic staff of universities, which he said has deteriorated due to the fuel subsidy removal.

The union reasoned that there was a need to revisit the 8-month salary arrears that arose from the last strike by the academic staff union of universities (ASUU), arguing that members of the Congress of University Academics did not go on strike.

During the eight months that the strike lasted, academic activities in universities were grounded, leading to a collapse in the academic calendars.

 The industrial actions bordered around the implementation of agreements, poor welfare, infrastructure dearth, and shortage of academics, among others.