Nigeria – Authorities of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Thursday, ordered indefinite closure of the institution, following protests by the students over recent increase in school fees. The angry students staged a peaceful demonstration at the premises of Nigerian Television Authority, NTA in Enugu, last Wednesday, where they lamented the increase of the school fee from N40,000 to N150, 000 per session and vowed to resist it. Authorities of the institution, however, took urgent step to prevent the spread of the demonstration yesterday by announcing the closure, but students at the Agbani permanent site blocked the main gate of the university in the early hours of Thursday, preventing vehicular movement into the campus.
A statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Ossy Ugwuoti, said the university was shut because of reports that some politicians were trying to mobilize the students to cause trouble in the state.
The statement said the institution would remain closed until further notice and directed the students to vacate the campus with immediate effect.
However, there was heavy security presence at the permanent site of the university as anti-riot policemen were seen patrolling the campus to forestall breakdown of law and order.
Academic activities resumed at ESUT mid-January this year after the academic staff suspended their seven months industrial action over agitation for improved pay.
After the protracted industrial dispute was settled, the state government increased school fees from N40,000 to N150,000 to enable it raise enough funds to pay the lecturers.
But the increase had been generating tension in the university as most of the students declined to pay and made representations to the authorities through the students’ union for a reduction but their plea fell on deaf ears.
It would be recalled that medical doctors and other workers of the ESUT Teaching Hospital in Enugu metropolis had been on strike since December 1 last year following non-implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS by the state government and activities at the hospital have remained paralyzed since then.