By Jonathan Ugbal, Margaret Adado and Laura Kpopji
The management of the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) has shut down the school for two weeks in order for students owing fees to source for funds and defray them.
This was contained in circular number 259 signed by the registrar of the varsity, Mr. Gabriel Beshel which said this was part of the decision taken by the institution as it reviewed its school fees policy.
The break is “to enable students who have not yet paid their fees up to First Semester of 2018/2019 Academic session to source for funds and defray their debts, Management has approved that students should proceed on Two weeks break with effect from Monday 15th April to Monday 29th April, 2019,” the management said.
The institution said the review of the fee policy was “against the backdrop of the poor response of continuing (year 2-5) students towards paying their school fees, a situation that is virtually grounding every vital service in the institution.”
In the new fee policy, the varsity said that: “all continuing students including extra time students must pay the school fees for each semester as at when due. Therefore, each student is expected to pay half (50%) of the session’s school fees at the beginning of each session and complete the balance at the beginning of the second semester.”
“No part of a session’s fees shall be carried over to another session,” the varsity said, adding that: “all prospective SIWES and teaching practice students must pay their school fees in full for the session before they can be mobilised.”
The scheme affects graduating students as the varsity’s management said only those who paid their fees in full can have their results processed and mobilized for the National Youth Service Scheme.
The varsity also directed those who pay their fees to obtain fee clearance cards from the students account unit of the bursary as their academic, extra-curricular and response to inquiry shall be based on evidence of payment of fees.
The circular were issued barely 24 hours after students of the faculties of environmental science and communication technology embarked on a peaceful demonstration in the Calabar campus of the varsity over lack of light in academic blocks A and B.
“Our fight today is not political, we are fighting for our right,” the President of the students association in the Department of Architecture, Edom Francis told his colleagues while addressing them shortly before the demonstration began.
He continued: “We will not allow these men to rubbish us. They have been enjoying light since January, but we have not seen light since January, that is wrong.”
The students later switched off the diesel fired plant providing the campus electricity and barricaded major entrances into the campus after discovering that the management had power supply while their classrooms did not.
Edom who said the students are asking for their “right,” also told CrossRiverWatch that: “Students are finding it very, very difficult to learn. Students are begging them for opportunity for them to charge their phones; the mass communication students for them to use their equipment in the studio; for architecture students to use their laptops; from January we have not had lights in this department and it is uncalled for, and it is very very wrong, so we deem it fit as students of cross River University of Technology to come out today and have a peaceful demonstration.
“How this demonstration goes today is not our fault, it only shows you the grievance in the heart of the Nigerian students who are only begging for the core responsibility of their right to be served to them and that is why we are matching out today and we want the vice chancellor of this university to hear us and make sure that our right which is electricity is given to us, likewise every basic amenities that is required of us to appreciate as students. Because as students we have paid our school fees and we deserve our equal rights.”
The students were addressed by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Anthony Owan-Enoh.
He pledged that the power will be restored in 48 hours and later held a closed door meeting with the departmental and faculty student leaders to discuss other issues that were raised.
Meanwhile, the varsity also postponed its planned matriculation exercise for freshmen earlier billed for April 25-26, 2019 to May 2-3, 2019 in order to allow more students pay their fees.
This was contained in circular number 258 signed by the varsity’s registrar which also directed matriculating students to confirm their names at the MIS unit, proceed to the CRUTECH micro finance bank to pay in NGN2500 for the academic gown which they are expected to return after the matriculation exercise as a “failure to do so will attract a fine of NGN500 per day.”
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