Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University Uturu, Professor Onyemachi Ogbulu, has cautioned students of the university not to allow themselves to be used as political thugs in the forthcoming general elections.
The VC who gave the advice Wednesday during an interactive session with the Students Union Government, Students Representatives Council, Faculty and Departmental Presidents, Hostel Governors and the Management of the institution, urged the students not to allow politicians ruin their future.
“This is a sensitive season. Don’t allow politicians to use and dump you; elections will come and go and life continues. Don’t be used as thugs and hired crowds; face your academics.”
On the proposed upward review of school fees, the VC assured the students that the new fees would not be implemented yet so as not to give additional financial pressure on parents but noted that the economic realities had made the implementation inevitable.
He, therefore, appealed to students to get ready for the hike in fees to enable Management deliver more effective services.
“I just want to remind you that as agreed during our town hall meeting that school fees have to be increased, but not now. The upward review has to be done some time in the future based on the economic realities.
“We won’t just increase fees but provide safety nets to ensure that no student drops out of school.”
The VC pleaded with students to pay their fees on time, stressing that the Senate policy of “no fees no exam shall be strictly implemented.”
“All students have six weeks from commencement of the semester to pay school fees and register for courses while the portal for course registration will be shut one week before exam.”
Explaining that the cost of running the institution had gone up particularly the increase in the cost of diesel, the VC appealed to students to get ready to adjust to the new changes.
“Before the strike, we were buying diesel for N350 per liter but now it sells for N850. We want you to be prepared for adjustments.”
He disclosed that power supply in the institution had been adjusted from 8:00 pm to 12:00 am to reduce the financial burden on the Management, and pleaded with the students to adapt.
On the security challenges around Uturu/Okigwe/Isuikwuato axis, the VC assured that adequate security measures had been put in place to stop kidnapping and banditry in the area.
He said that the State Government was leaving nothing to chances to ensure the safety of students and staff as well as visitors to the institution.
The VC commended Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for his numerous supports to the university Management in tackling the security challenges.
He, however, advised students to be security conscious and to stop advertising their itineraries on the social media to avoid being monitored by kidnappers.
The VC urged students who are yet to return to campus to quickly come back as full academic activities have commenced in the institution since last week when the local chapters of the university-based unions called off their strike.
He commended the leadership of the unions for their magnanimity and understanding to call off the protracted strike in the interest of the students.
Responding, the President, Students Union Government, Comrade Chidera Ibeleme, thanked the VC and his Management team for their efforts in tackling security challenges around the campus.
He also applauded the Management for its decision not to begin the implementation of the new school fees, and pleaded that more attention be given to the provision of more lecture halls.
Comrade Ibeleme pledged support and cooperation of students in the efforts of Management to reposition the institution.
The SUG President as well as other speakers pleaded with the Management to prevail on lodge owners to reduce their exorbitant charges.
They called for a regulation of lodge accommodation charges, arguing that the charging of N250,000 per annum for a room in a private lodge is outrageous.
The students urged the Management to provide more hostel accommodations for students both in Uturu and Umuahia campuses to help them escape unnecessary exploitation by capitalist private lodge owners.