By John Ndu
Awka, July 16, 2021 (MOI) Calm has returned to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, after a unanimous agreement between the management and students of the institution, over school fees and other levies.
The students and management came to an agreement after three days of negotiation.
The students had staged a protest over alleged increment in school fees and other levies, which if not addressed, could have adversely affected the holding the matriculation exercise, scheduled for July 16.
A final decision was reached on July 15, during a meeting that lasted more than five hours at the Vice-Chancellor’s Hall, Awka.
The VC of the institution, Prof. Charles Okechukwu Esimone, who was represented by his Deputy, Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Joseph Ikecheblu, said they had agreed on a new school fees structure for the 2020/2021 academic year.
“You will continue with the 2019/2020 school fees and the supposed 2020/2021 fee schedule is now suspended until a further dialogue.
“We hope that this will cement the peace and tranquility that our university is known for. The university remains peaceful, and the public should disregard all other information making the rounds in the social media.
“Any other form of demonstration from anybody, means that the person is not our student, and such individual will be disciplined appropriately.
“We call on the law enforcement agencies in the school to be on the alert to ensure that there is no breach of peace within the university,’’ Esimone stressed.
In reaction, the President, Student Union Government, Chukwuemeka Anih, represented by his vice-president, Augusta Ukoha, re-assured the students that the university management had agreed to revert to the 2019/2020 fees structure, noting that the final document would soon be released.
According to the President, It is no longer news that we, the students have been on this negotiation over the last few days and we are happy to tell our fellow students that there has been a reduction in the fees.
“The decisions we took here are in the best interest of the students and the university management. We hope that when this document comes out, there will no longer be any protest as our decisions here were collective,’’ he said.
The President, Council of Faculty Presidents, Mr Stephen Ogoegbulem, expressed satisfaction at the level of commitment of the university management in resolving the matter, calling for an end to the protest.
On gains of the negotiation, he said, “initially when this semester started, the year three students were to pay a fee of N55,200 including the Association and Union dues but now it has been reduced to under N30,000. That means we achieved about N16, 000 reduction for them.
“For year the two students, they paid about N100, 000 when they came into the school last year and when this semester started, they were to pay about N55,200.
“However, we are happy to inform them that we have got a discount of about N10, 000,’’ he said.
Earlier, the SUG President, Nnewi Campus of the university, Mr Theophilus Okologbo, expressed satisfaction as the dialogue yielded fruits, while urging other students to remain peaceful.
Others who signed the agreement include Deputy Vice- Chancellor, Academic, Prof F J C Odibo, the Registrar, Philomena Okoye and the Bursar, Dr Joy Ojukwu.
Also present was Convocation Representative, Prof Nnama Meshach Umenweke. (MOI) TON