Students of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, are currently in battle with the authorities of their school over what they termed the compulsory laptop fee allegedly imposed on new students by the management of the school.
The students said the fee was high and that it would deny many of the freshmen the opportunity of studying in the varsity.
we learnt that the institution collected N25, 000 as acceptance fee and N60, 000 as school fees from the new intakes, while N10, 000 and N11, 000 were respectively demanded for accommodation in the male and female hostels.
With the addition of N70, 000 as laptop fee, the students are mandated to pay between a total of N165, 000 and N171, 000.
Both new and old students of the varsity have taken their anger to the social media, accusing the school management of insensitivity. They also accused the Students Union Government of complicity in the matter because they alleged the SUG had refused to speak in defence of the students.
A female student, Chinwe, said on her Facebook wall that her family could not afford the fee.
She wrote, “I am so confused right now. My family can’t afford that laptop for now, whereas we have Window 7 HP laptop at home. UNN is a federal school, not a state or private university for God’s sake. The school fee is expensive unlike UNILAG, UNIBEN, UNILORIN, OAU and other federal universities in the South West that are very cheap. Yet, UNN is enforcing laptop on students; this is injustice!”
Another student, who identified himself as Ogwu, said the laptop fee should not be made compulsory.
“But come to think of it, what is the relevance of this fake laptop to an agricultural student? So it must not be compulsory,” he said.
A former student of the school, who host a Facebook page, UNN Voice Via Rymzo, wrote an open letter to the management of the institution, asking it to rescind the decision.
Rymzo, in an address to the Vice Chancellor of the school and the SUG, questioned the rationale for the imposed laptop fee.
He said, “These poor freshmen you have asked to pay for laptop before they do their clearance or apply for hostel, if you were a poor man and such a thing was done to you, would you be happy? Did you tell them about this before they chose UNN?
“Why are you denying some people from actualising their dreams in UNN? I want you to know that you are destroying destinies, delaying dreams, frustrating lives and encouraging crime indirectly.”
“To the SUG, UNN added money to the Internet fee you didn’t do anything about it. Light and water supply are not always steady inside the campus, you keep quiet.
“Now the freshmen whom you are supposed to protect and fight for their welfare are confused and passing through emotional trauma because they are helpless and have no one to speak for them over this laptop saga, you still keep quiet.”
But the spokesperson for the SUG, Ilogebe Chidi, in a reaction, which was broadcast to students of the institution, denied complicity in the case.
Chidi said, “The SUG has got a great task on her shoulders. But then, our primary duty is to protect the right of our constituency, and that we are doing. The issue of compulsory laptops for first year students…it’s quite unfortunate that some persons are still insensitive to the current situation of our economy. The SUG dissociates itself from the policy of compulsory purchase of laptops by first year students.
“We are fully aware that the University of Nigeria is the last hope of the common man in the South East with respect to the pursuit of sound and affordable education. We wish to let you know that the SUG isn’t sleeping on this issue as we have devised measures of handling this problem headlong.
“The N70, 000 is too outrageous and the payment by instalments is cut- throat. We fully understand that the school management wants to upgrade the schooling system but it is very unwise to create a bigger problem trying to solve a smaller one.”
He added that the union was planning a meeting with the school management to discuss the matter.
The Public Relations Officer of the school, Okwun Omeaku, when contacted on the telephone, said he was driving and might not be able to react to the story.
“I am driving and will still be on the express for the next two hours and cannot react no