The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, on Thursday bowed to pressure from academic unions and students of Lagos State University, Ojo, by reversing the increase in school fees.
Fashola, who made the announcement at LASU’s convocation in Ojo, Lagos, ordered the fees to be reversed to N25, 000.
Three years ago, the state government increased the tuition to between N180,000 and N350,000.
The governor, who arrived the venue of the convocation at about 10.40am, was greeted with a series of protests from members of the Students’ Union Government, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non Academic Staff Union.
The PUNCH had reported on Thursday that SSANU-LASU had planned to disrupt the second leg of the convocation ceremony.
The union was protesting – among other things – the payment of their salaries for the months of June and July 2014.
The university authorities, in a bid to scuttle the planned demonstration and ensure a hitch-free convocation, used security operatives to arrest some of the union executives and members.
While some of the union members were arrested at about 9.16am, some others were manhandled, even as others had their phones seized. Journalists and passers-by were also harassed.
Following the arrest of their officials, other members of the union took their protest to the Vice Chancellor’s office.
Efforts by a renowned industrialist and Chancellor of the institution, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, to stop the protest proved abortive.
The protesters also attempted to prevent the VC and his entourage from leaving his office to the convocation venue.
This prompted security operative to shoot into the air to disperse the protesters.
The protest however, took another dimension as some students and the non-academic staff members joined the agitation on sighting the governor’s convoy.
Some security officials, who tried to confront the protesters, were prevented by the governor, who alighted from his vehicle to address the union leaders.
He assured them that their grievances would be looked into.
The students, in their solidarity, chants, “PDP! Power! APC! Ole (thief).”
They displayed placards with various inscriptions such as, “Further reduction of LASU school fees; Stop the reduction in our bursary; Open registration portal.”
The atmosphere, however, took a different dimension when the governor announced the reversal of the tuition to N25, 000.
The students erupted in wild jubilation and their solidarity song changed to praise – to “APC, Change!”
However, the government gesture did not stop the SSANU members from continuing their protest.
The union members started chanting “Obafunwa must go!”
The Students’ Union President, Nurudeen Yusuf, thanked the governor for the gesture.
He said, “We thank God for everything, even though our people betrayed us by paying their fees contrary to the union’s directives.
“We would have got to this point long ago, but for their betrayal.“Anyway, we do not blame them because they were afraid.”