Students of Michael Okpara University protest school fee hike

A widespread protest has rocked Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, as many students of the institution protested against the alleged 60 per cent increase in their school fees.

The protest, which started at about 10 am during a semester examination in the school, was sparked by the alleged decision of the university’s management to prevent students who did not pay or complete their increased school fees from writing the exams.

Among those allegedly prevented were final-year students under a ‘No fees, No exam’ policy.

It was also alleged that some officials of the institution were deployed to various halls to chase away those who did not present evidence of school fee payments, and this brewed a revolt from the students, according to a 300-level female student who simply gave her name as Blessing.

The crisis, which started in one of the halls, soon spread to other halls and, later, to the main gate of the university.

The angry students also tried to prevent the convoy of senior management from leaving the school. Some principal officers reportedly fled their offices to escape being beaten by the angry students.

Some properties of the school were also vandalised by the protesting students while vehicles plying the busy Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene expressed way and took alternative routes to escape having their vehicles damaged.

But a team of policemen later arrived on campus to restore order in the school.

At the time of this report, the university’s management was said to be considering shutting down the institution to control the unrest.

When contacted by DAILY POST, the Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr Patrick Opara, lamented that miscreants capitalised on the protest to destroy valuable school property.

He denied the allegations levelled against the university, saying that the school did not chase out students from exam halls, as alleged.

“The protest was hijacked by some miscreants to destroy school property. It is very unfortunate,” the PRO said.

Opara said he could not yet confirm if the school had been shut down or not.