By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,Â in Edo State has condemned the increase of school fees at the state owned Ambrose Alli University, AAU,Â Ekpoma by the state government, declaring that increasing the fees from N18,000 to N50,000 was an attempt to â€œscuttle educationâ€, particularly to indigent students.
They regretted that the increase which sparked off a violent protest in the university last Monday, that led to the death of two students, would further impoverish parents who are paying fees for two or more children in the university.
It would be recalled that over ten vehicles were destroyed while two students were said to have lost their lives last Monday, after students of the university stormed the streets to protest the increase in school fees.
However, reacting through a statement signed by its state Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, the PDP recalled that â€œ prior to the administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the former Governor, Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor and the PDP were committed to improved educational development in the state.
In the 18 months of Gvernor Osunborâ€™s PDP regime in Edo state, subventions to the Ambrose Alli University was increased three times to N80million, N120million and N150million monthly respectively.
â€œIt is interesting to note that school fees paid during the period consistently stood at below N18,000 per session for full time students and N35,000 for part time students. The past PDP government gave the institution over N500million for infrastructural development and accreditation of over 30 courses offered by the institution. But since Oshiomhole came into office, the institution has become a shadow of it self.
â€œ The Governor should realize that parents and guardians of students of the university are already over burdened by the excessive taxation imposed on them by his administration.
This negative action of the government is aimed at sending thousands of students home from the school. We call on government to revert to the old school fees with immediate effectâ€ it stated.
The statement further appealed to the students not to take laws into their hands but to embrace the use of dialogue as a necessary tool to resolve the crisis between the institution and government.