SCORES of medical students at the University of Ibadan, yesterday, blocked the entrance of Alexander Brown Hall (ABH) protesting the introduction of a new fee of N100,000 tagged health professional training levy.
This was as Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, yesterday, insisted that protesting students of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, will pay the N168 million damages at the institution.
The students, who are under the College of Medicine, staged the protest at the Alexander Brown Hall, University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan.
To protest alleged insensitivity on the part of management, the students armed with placards with various inscriptions, marched peacefully to resist the newly introduced fee.
Entrances to the hall of residence were barricaded which prevented everybody who wanted to gain entry into the hall from doing so.
Some of the placards bore inscriptions such as: ‘We can’t afford it, Save Ibadan medicine school, ‘Health Professional Training Levy is a scam’, ‘No to N100,000’ among others.
One of the aggrieved students, who pleaded anonymity, told newsmen that the management gave them the impression that the professional fees would cut across all professional courses, but it affected only the medical students.
The student said: “It is only the medical students in the College of Medicine that have been mandated to pay the fees. It is not good. Why will brilliant students be treated poorly like that?”
“We are protesting because of the increment on top of our N23, 000 school fees. Initially, the management told us that they would add professional training levy to our school fees, and it will be for all professional courses in the university such as medicine, pharmacy, engineering and so on.”
“In this ABH, our accommodation fee has also been increased from N14, 000 to N40, 000. Only one tap is working in this hall. We go as far as UCH first gate, to fetch water, yet we are not complaining. But the N100, 000 health professional training levy is too much. Many of us cannot afford it.”
“If the levy is not reversed, many of us will drop out of school. Not only that, Medicine will become a course that will be studied only by children of the rich. I know my financial capabilities, which is why I opted for a federal university. If I have rich parents, I would have gone to a private university now.”
School management keeps mum
Efforts to get comments from the school authorities proved abortive as none of the management members was willing to say anything on the issue.
Ondo poly students to pay for N168m damages— AKEREDOLU
Relatedly, Akeredolu, who expressed surprise at the extent of damage at Owo Polytechnic, said government’s action would serve as a deterrent to others.
He said this while receiving the report of the Committee of Inquiry on the violent protest by students of the institution, in Akure.
Recall that a four-man committee was set up on Feb. 5 to look into the violent protest by the students on Jan. 22.
The students destroyed the school’s ICT centre, vehicles and other valuables of the institution while protesting the ‘No school fees, no exam’ policy introduced by the management.
The governor, Akeredolu said: “The ICT centre was already JAMB-compliant. Some of the students were found with computers and the students who are facing trial, if found guilty, will be made to pay for the crimes committed.”