Students of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, are protesting a four-hour-per-day electricity ration handed down to them by the management last Friday.
The undergraduates – medical and pharmacy students – say the institution has continued to turn a blind eye to their plight but, instead, focused on increasing their fees.
A November 30 memo to the students informed them that effective December 1, power supply to their hostels would be 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“The management, therefore, implored all students for understanding,” read the notice signed by A.O Adeyemo, Principal Assistant Secretary (Students) at the college.
Several students from the college of medicine who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said they study under inhospitable conditions.
The students preferred not to say their names for fear of victimisation; more so as they see the university as one with a history of going after those critical of its actions.
A student told PREMIUM TIMES they had been facing numerous challenges in the institution but the latest electricity ration was the one that “broke the camel’s back.”
“We said no and we told them we are going to the media,” said the student.
“The world must hear this suffering of ours.”
Prior to the four hours a day electricity supply, the students had clashed with their provost over an increment in hostel accommodation fees from N32,500 to N44,500.
It was the first time since 2012 when the fees were increased from N24,000 to N32,500.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the increase to N44,500 was to cover for electricity costs being provided by a new independent power plant in the college.
“The increment as we were told was that we should start paying for electricity because of the power plant that was installed and it’s being managed by a private company,” the student added.
The protests led to Folusho Lesi, a professor and the provost of the college of medicine, being summoned by the university management, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Two weeks ago, the hostel increment was reversed to N32,500.
But last Friday, a notice surfaced on the student’s information board informing them that they would be having only four hours of electricity everyday.
The notice infuriated the students who took to the streets in protest.
Since late last year when the power plant came into existence, the students had been averaging 16 hours daily electricity supply – 5pm to 9am. On weekends, the students have 24 hours power supply.
“Before the power plant, we were connected to PHCN and we had generator that we use,” another student told PREMIUM TIMES.
“The generator was always on from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and (then) complemented by PHCN.
“Part of the agreement in the increment in 2012 was to fuel the generator when the then provost, Prof Ogunshola, complained that there was no money to fuel the generator for us.”
A university spokesperson did not immediately respond to phone calls by PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Lesi did not also respond to phone calls and a text message.
A student leader told PREMIUM TIMES their protests had not yielded any results as at Monday evening.
“The vice chancellor is out of the country and we have to wait till he comes back. But for now, we are having only four hours of electricity.
“They are still telling us that we must pay money for electricity. An additional N11,000 for electricity. We are saying that the amount we are paying for school fees and hostel fees should be enough. There is nowhere that students in hostels are paying for electricity.”
The student leader said they are already paying higher fees than their colleagues at the university main campus who pay N24,000 for the hostel accommodation.
“They have been seeing the protests and what they are saying is that we should continue protesting.”
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