SERAP threatens to sue Governor Akeredolu, AAU over tuition fee hike


By Innocent Eteng

Socio-economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP), a civil society organisation, has threatened to take Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and management of Adekunle Ajasin University (AAU) to court over stupendous hike in tuition fee.

Governor Akeredolu had in early April increased the students’ tuition fee from between N25,000 and N30,000 to between N120,000 and N180,000. AAU is owned and financed by the Ondo State government.

The governor had told the News Agency of Nigeria that the reason behind the hike was because students of AAU were paying tuition fees way below what students of other Ondo State-controlled tertiary institutions like Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUTECH) and the University of Medical Sciences are paying.

But SERAP issued several tweets last night via its verified Twitter handle, describing the increment as unfair and insisting that the governor ‘must’ revert to the status quo or face litigation.

Publishing series of complaints it received from students and using the hashtag “#LegalActionIsComing” to threaten litigation, SERAP said the reason it is taking the move against the governor is because “We have received several email messages today from AAU students.”

Some of the tweets read:

“Why @RotimiAkeredolu must reverse d unfair tuition fees: Fresher: Before: N30,000 – N35,000. Now: N180,000 – N200,000. Returning: Before: N23,500-N27,000. Now: N100,000. Final yr student: N80,000 #AdekunleAjasin #EducationForAll #LegalActionIsComing.

“We have received several email messages today from AAU students. Hear some of them: ‘I am writing this letter in pain. I would like to beg you to come to our aid on the outrageous increment of our school fee by AAU. Please SERAP help us.’ @RotimiAkeredolu #LegalActionIsComing.

“Hear another student: ‘I chose AAU because it was the cheapest state university when I got admitted. But now it looks like the new government is about to kill my dream. I lost my dad 5 yrs ago and the fee is too much for my single mum to pay.’ @RotimiAkeredolu #LegalActionIsComing.

“Hear another student: ‘The imposed fees by AAU is total punishment for us as freshers. I have nowhere to turn now as my parents cannot afford the fees and I am already thinking about withdrawing. I am grateful, Sir for your intervention.’ @RotimiAkeredolu #LegalActionIsComing

“This is what another student said: ‘I’m sending this message to inform you that though the school fee has been reduced, N180k is still too much for my parents to pay. Please Sir/Ma, we still need your urgent intervention. Too much to bear.’ @RotimiAkeredolu #LegalActionIsComing

“Another student wrote: ‘Please come to our rescue, I know many of my friends who can’t pay the new fees of 100/150k. Even if AAU wants to increase fees, returning students should not be made to bear this pain. Please help us.’ @RotimiAkeredolu #LegalActionIsComing

“Hear another student: ‘Sir/ma kindly help us out because the fee is still huge for freshers and you are the last hope we have on this issue.’
@RotimiAkeredolu #LegalActionIsComing

“Another student said: ‘With due respect, Sir/Ma, I am writing on behalf of less privileged students like me. AAU is sending us out of school by increasing fees. If this was the fee when I came here I would have gone elsewhere.’ @RotimiAkeredolu #LegalActionIsComing

“Another student said: ‘Please Sir/ma, our parents cannot afford to pay such amount imposed by AAU. 80% of the students chose AAU because of the reasonable school fees. No laboratories. No electricity and so on. God bless you for helping us.’ @RotimiAkeredolu #LegalActionIsComing”