From Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe

The Coalition of Northern Groups Students Wing (CNG-SW) on Thursday took to the street to protest against the increase in tuition fees across public universities in the country. Warning that fee hike that was announced by the public universities will lead to massive dropout.

According to the students, who came out en masse to protest around Gombe Emir’s place, they were worried by the recent trend of exorbitant arrogance by some public university authorities with the indiscriminate hike in students’ tuition.

Speaking on behalf of the students, the National Coordinator of CNG-SW Emuseh Gimba Bokunga revealed that the protest was in line with the group’s ultimate goal, which is thriving for accessibility and affordability of qualitative education to Nigerian students.

She explained that the group’s out in Gombe was to draw attention to the consequences of the hike on the educational development of the country. “This follows the ratification by the Federal Government of a regime of harsh economic policies that have caused mass suffering to Nigerians.

“We find it regrettable that as a result of these poorly designed policies, hunger is stalking millions of homes, inflation is making life difficult by the day, people are losing jobs, businesses are closing down infrastructure is decaying, young Nigerians are losing hope of being employed, hospitals are full of people who suffer various illnesses, and cannot afford the fees,” Emuseh said.

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The coordinator disclosed that before the protest the group had taken time to study and understand the increments as announced by several university authorities in the North. She said, “As is the tradition of the CNG-SW, we took time to understand the situation and assess the inherent dangers the hike in tuition would pose to Nigeria and especially to the northern region which has been abandoned to the mercy of rampaging banditry and insurgency”.

Emuseh revealed that the hike in tuition fees will lead to massive dropouts and force millions of students to the street as well as compelling many students to give up their dreams of acquiring higher education.

She added that the hike would also, breed frustrated and uncontrollable youths that will be, “open to all vulnerabilities, temptations, and influences that could ultimately lead to an increase in organized crimes, worsen the security situation”.

However, the coordinator revealed that the anticipated dangers can be avoided only if all stakeholders rise to checkmate the unfolding situation and ensure the immediate downward review of hiked tuition across the Universities.

“To demand the northern elite and all stakeholders to speak up to reject and discourage the passage of the Education Loan Bill as the life span, and sustainability of the loan is not guaranteed. And in the event the passage of the bill becomes inevitable, we demand your urgent intervention in ensuring the provision of easy accessibility and soft repayment clauses therein,” Emuseh added.