Everything is now set for the reconstitution of the Students Union Government, SUG, in Nasarawa State University, Keffi, as the Vice Chancellor Professor Muhammad Mainoma has finally lifted the 3-year ban placed on the students body.
This cheering news came on Friday, when the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, in Nasarawa State held a closed door meeting with some of the management staff of the University.
Professor Mainoma said the suspension on the activity of SUG lingered for so long due to a Senate decision to allow the participants of the 2013 water protest to graduate before lifting the ban.
“I think that requirement has been fulfilled by the graduation of the last set. So we have initiated a process to reconstitute the students body by next session”, the don promised.
The VC who himself held several SUG offices during his school days, said he is committed to bringing SUG back because of the leadership responsibilities it confers on students.
Earlier NANS Joint Campus Committee Chairman, Nasarawa Axis, Comrade Ibrahim Thaddeus Maiyanga told the VC that the visit was as a result of the recent increment in school fees and the need to lift the ban on SUG, stating that steps should be taken to cushion the effect of the increment on students and parents, especially the multiple charges that students are forced to pay after the same items have been captured in the school fees receipt.
Professor Mainoma said the University is facing a “major delimma” that if nothing is done urgently, the University will be shut down because of inadequate funding and lack of resources to pay salaries.
“It is either the students continue to pay #30,000 and ASUU goes on strike for 6 months every year or pay the current plan and stay at home for, maybe, one month.
“We are supposed to pay ASUU an outstanding 200 million Naira part of the Earned Academic Allowance by this December, but due to lack of fund ASUU agreed to wait till January.
“We spend 210 million Naira on salaries alone and we only receive 129 million Naira from the state government monthly, which we augment with more than 80 million Naira.
“So you see that we need extra 1.2 billion Naira every year to keep the system running otherwise they will be problem.
“The decision we took was a difficult but necessary one and when compared with charges from neighbouring institutions, ours is still lesser to theirs.
“For instance, Kogi State University is charging 65,000 for indigene and 107,000 for non indigenes, Benue State University charges 64,000 for indigenes and 102,000 for the non indigenes.
“In IBB Lapai, indigenes pay 62,000 while non indigenes pay 117,000, Plateau State University, Bokkos collect 50,000 for indigenes and 100,000 for non indigenes.
“Federal University Lokoja charges 75,000 flat, University of Jos collects 71,350 and Federal University of Technology, Minna collects 50,000”, Mainoma stated.
He said the adjustment in school fees is a difficult decision by management, especially with the present economic challenges, but insisted that in order not for the institution to close down, this has to be done.
On the hostel fee, the VC said only those who wish to stay in the hostels and have been allocated bed spaces will pay for it.
Professor Mainoma assured that no extra charges will be allowed by any authority except the one approved by management, and wants students to report any department or faculty that engages in collecting levies that are not approved.
“You have to help us as well. You don’t have to just speculate or make allegations without evidence to prove it. If anybody collects any money that is not approved by management, bring the evidence and I assure you we will deal with those people”, he said.
The Editor-In-Chief of National Association of University Students Magazine Committee, Ofim Kelechi Ofim commended the effort of management in repositioning the ICT and pleaded that the WiFi services be extended to not just the entire Campus, but also to Angwa Lambu and High Court student villages, for which the VC said that it will be done in the nearest future,as soon as the needed funding is available. He said implementation of the plan is capital intensive and will be done in phases until those areas are connected.
Other management staff that attended the meeting included the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) Dr. (Mrs.) Grace Pennap and the Bursar, Mr. Stephen Azizi.
A NANS stakeholder, Musa Moses, was among other student leaders from across Nasarawa State that attended the meeting.