According to www.odogwublog.com, the first semester examinations at Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, today disrupted by some students of the institution over the decision of the institution’s management to exclude them from partaking in the exams, based on the fact that they have not paid their school fees.
The protesting students are final year students who complained bitterly that it will spell doom for them,if they are not allowed to partake in the exams, stating they have pleaded with the management to allow them partake in the exams, with assurance that they will definitely clear all arrears of payment before they vacate the institution. Alternatively, let their statement of results be with held until they are able to do so.
They accused the Vice Chancellor, Professor Mathias Anike of being insensitive to the plight of the students amidst the prevailing economic recession that have rendered their parents/sponsors incapable of meeting up with regular payment of their tuition and other fees, usually demanded by the institution.
One of the final year students who talked to odogwublog.com on anonymity narrated that under normal circumstances, they would have paid the normal school fees of above One hundred and twenty four thousand[N124,000] before the end of January. Those of them who were unable to pay before the end of month of January were tasked an additional ten thousand [N10,000] as late payment, raising it up to an approximate of one hundred and thirty five thousand[N135,000]. While those who are yet to pay as at the date of commencement of exams, on Monday, March 13 are forced to forfeit their exams.
He lamented,’ For a final year student of ESUT to forfeit his semester examination means that he would have to come back the next academic session to re register by paying the normal school fees and an additional half of the fees, as penalty’.
He said that all attempts to let the Vice chancellor understand their plight in view of the prevailing economic hard times, allow them to partake in the exams while their parents/sponsors are battling to pay off every arrears of their fees before their graduation or thereafter, before collecting their results fell on deaf ears. Therefore, they chose the option to disrupt the entire exams.
According to an eyewitness, when some of the protesting students stormed the mechanical engineering department, they tore some of the answer scripts of those who were seated for the exam,at the point of which the invigilator and other examiners took to their heels and ran for their safety.
The protesting students visited some other departments under Management science faculty within Enugu campus of ESUT and likewise stopped other students inside the exam halls,who paid their school fees from continuing with their exams. They stirred a rowdy atmosphere and confusion within ESUT campus at Independence layout, before taking to the streets in a peaceful protest.
The protesting students equally marched to the Enugu station of Nigeria Television Authority,NTA channel 8,which is adjacent to ESUT/IMT campus in Enugu, before marching to the state government house.
Amidst presence of armed mobile policemen along the road to Enugu state government house,popularly referred as ‘Lion building’ the protesting ESUT students were bold and courageous enough to insist they want to see Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Governor Ugwuanyi eventually came out and addressed them outside the gate of the government house, commending them for their peaceful protest and assured that all the final year students will definitely be allowed to partake in the examinations in view of the consequences.
Attempts to reach the ESUT Vice chancellor, Professor Mathias Anike for his own side of the story before filing this report was not fruitful but the institutions Public Relations Officer,Mr Osita Ugwuoti in a telephone chat told ‘The Authority’ that in as much as the exams were disrupted by ‘misguided’ students at Enugu campus of ESUT, the exams were conducted without hitches at Agbani campus of the institution.
Ugwuoti stated,’ There is this usual practice in ESUT that if you don’t pay your school fees,you will not take your exams.It is also a practice that if you don’t pay within the stipulated time,you will pay the penalty for late payment’.
‘The protest was organized by some misguided students of Management sciences but all the same, the exams were conducted peacefully at Agbani campus of the institution’.