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Abia state university students are to pay a required N15,000 ‘pandemic prevention fee’ before resuming school on November 9.
NewsWireNGR confirms that this information was sent to the students via a communique that was released on the 21st of October.
It came out after the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, on Monday, October 19 approved the reopening of tertiary institutions by October 26.
The communique, however, did not state exactly what the money would be used for.
It reads, “All returning students are to pay a pandemic resumption fee of Fifteen thousand Naira only (N15,000), ensure registration of their Courses, to be eligible to participate in the Examinations”
“Please note that it is for the student’s health and that of others, that it will be necessary to show evidence of payment of the Pandemic Prevention Fee before entry into any of the Campuses”
A student who spoke to NewsWireNGR, said the information came as a “shock to the student community” and there is a possibility of an organised protest against the payment.
Another decried the payment, saying that it is unfair following the wake of COVID-19 and the unplanned expenses for students before they went on break. He said, ” some people are still yet to pay the school fees (about N40,000 to N200,000 depending on your class and degree) , accommodation and the rest. Then when you include this new fees it becomes unfair”
Some of the students have taken to social media to express their displeasure with the levy
Speaking to NewsWireNGR correspondent via social media, ABSU students say they understand that the school should have a COVID-19 prevention plan but they do not think it students should be made to bear the costs.
One said, “Why must student pay for the COVID-19 prevention plan? Okezie, the state’s governor was given 2 billion to fight covid… Must it be the students all the time”?
NewsWireNGR recalls that in September, the Abia state Governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, approved Four Hundred Million Naira (400,000,000. 00) bailout funds for the university. According to a statement by the Governors Chief Press Secretary, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka, the bailout fund was expected to be applied by the University Management to meet basic financial obligations as they struggled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a recent development, the state government also approved the constitution of a Visitation Panel to the Institution. The Governor also directed the Chairman of Governing Council of the University, to reconstitute without delay, the selection committee for the nomination and screening of candidates for the office of Vice Chancellor of the institution.
In the release signed by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Barrister Chris Ezem, no mention was made of the controversial N15,000 pandemic fee.
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