Rivers varsity students protest no-fee-no-exam policy
Hundreds of students of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, took to the streets on Tuesday, protesting the no fees, no exam policy allegedly adopted by the school authority.
The students marched out of the campus located at the Mile 3 area of the metropolis, singing and calling on the school to rescind its decision.
It was gathered that some students, including those in their final year who were unable to pay the 2021/2022 school fees were not barred from taking their examinations on Monday, as most of those affected expressed sadness over the development.
The affected final-year students expressed fears that the decision of the institution’s management would make them spend an extra year in the school, with the resultant tuition fees it would also attract.
The students marched from the Mile 3 area to Ikwerre road and terminated the march at the Government House, along Azikiwe Road in Port Harcourt to register their grievances.
One of them and the President, the National Union of Rivers State Students, Monmon Precious, said the delay in the payment was not deliberate but was rather due to the economy. The student appealed to the school authority to reconsider its stance.
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“The students came out today to protest against an alien policy of “no school fees, no examination.
“It is not deliberate for us not to pay our tuition fees, the economy is very difficult. If it is difficult for the government to fund projects, certainly, the students will also have challenges in paying school fees.
“Our bursaries (stipend) have been withheld, no more scholarship in Rivers State. All we want is the old policy that allows students to take their exams and maybe their results would be withheld during clearance until they make all the payments,” he said.
On his part, a student leader identified as Koki Gbenga, said since the ‘no fees, no exam policy’ started, he had been receiving regular text messages from his colleagues who threatened to kill themselves.
Gbenga said, “I receive daily messages from fellow students who threaten to kill themselves because of the economic situation in the country and in the state.
“They (management) should consider us and allow us to study and write exams. If students are forced out of school at this critical moment, they may cause mayhem to themselves and the society.”
Similarly, an undergraduate simply identified as Andrew lamented that the flood had ravaged so many communities where the students came from and called on the authorities to consider their plights.
When contacted, the Spokesman for the university, Emeka Egbechu, said it was an internal matter, saying calm had returned to the school.
Egbechu added, “I will not speak much on it until I hear from the Vice Chancellor. All I can tell you now is that there is no cause for alarm. It is an internal matter, and there is calm on our campus as we speak. When I get clarification to speak, I’ll let you know.”