The Oyo and Osun state governments have said that they do not plan to increase the tuition fee of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH.
This position was revealed to PREMIUM TIMES by the Special Assistant to the Oyo state Governor on Youth and Student Affairs, Bolaji Afeez, and spokesman of the Osun state Government, Semiu Okanlawon.
The development indicates that the governments of the two owner states of the university have rejected the recommendation of the visitation panel they set up on how to overcome the financial challenges of the university.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the panel, headed by a senior advocate of Nigeria, Wole Olanipekun, had recommended a 100 percent hike in tuition fee.
But the recommendation did not go down well with students. The Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and students planned to hold an “Occupy LAUTECH” protest on January 9 against the recommendation.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, had also warned the authorities against increasing tuition fee.
“It is normal, we (ASUU) are against commercialisation of education so it is true that we will stand against any attempt to increase the tuition fee”, a lecturer in the university told our correspondent.
If the panel’s recommendation is adopted, students will pay between N130,000 and N150,000 as tution fee per session.
But the Oyo State governor’s aide, Mr. Afeez, stressed that “LAUTECH will resume by January and no tuition will be increased”.
He said the state governments had not given anyone in the institution the directive to increase tuition fee.
“I can state it that there are no plans to increase the tuition fee of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology as the state Government has not said anything of such,” he said.
“It is true that the (Oyo state) governor asked that LAUTECH increase internally generated revenue, but the truth is there are other ways the government is planning and it is not necessarily through tuition hike.”
When asked whether the increase was part of the recommendations of the visitation panel the governments set up on the crisis in the university, the governor’s aide declined to comment.
“Well, the governments will come up with their position soon on the panel report but there are no plans to increase the fee, it is only a rumor that we plan to increase the tuition fee”, Mr. Afeez said.
Speaking in the same vein, Mr. Okanlawon, quipped: “Is it possible to increase the tuition fee when the Oyo state government has also stated a position against it? There are no such plans, we are not aware of such plans.”
On the resumption of the university by January, Mr. Okanlawon said “The panel is working hard to ensure that we have a quick resumption as we all want the university to be reopened. We are very hopeful of a January resumption”.
The Registrar of LAUTECH, Jacob Agboola, also denied that tution fee would be increased.
“Well, there is no decision to that effect, we have no plan to increase the fee, there is no decision to that effect”, he said.
He was also hopeful that the school will reopen in January.
Ladoke Akintola University of Technology was shut down in June due to the inability of the owner state governments to fund its operations.
The government afterwards set up the visitation panel to look into how the university can overcome its financial challenges.
The finance committee of the panel, led by Grace Akinola, a professor at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, worked on how the cash-strapped university can expand internally generated revenue.