AAU Management explains reasons for SUG dissolution, says information being circulated is false

Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Management explains reasons for SUG dissolution, says information being circulated is false

AAU Management explains reasons for SUG dissolution, says information being circulated is false

The Management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma has explained why the Student Union Government, SUG, of the University was dissolved in the wake of the protest that attended an alleged increment of school fees, Myschoolnews report.

According to the University Management, in a statement issued by the Head of Corporate Communications and Protocol, Otunba Mike Ade Aladenika,

“The dissolution of the SUG and the subsequent appointment of a Caretaker Committee was occasioned by the narratives surrounding the alleged increment in school fees that led to the protest and the blocking of the school gates for days.

“It is pertinent for us, as an institution, to straighten the narratives especially as the news media and several online platforms have been awash with the news of the dissolution of Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Student Union and the setting up of a Caretaker Committee. “Several imaginary reasons have been adduced by different sections of the society, the most common being that the AAU Management dissolved the Student Union because the students embarked on a legitimate protest over hike in school fees.

”Unfortunately, Aladenika said, “those spreading this false narrative do not seem to realise that their actions only beg the facts.

More unfortunate is what ordinarily was an internal University issue which has now been so externalised to the extent that facts have been turned upside down.

“It is imperative for the University Management to make public some facts as they relate to the protest by persons who claim they are students of AAU and to let the world know that the erstwhile Student Union leaders currently protesting against alleged hike in fees, were part of the team that negotiated the same fees they are now protesting against, including the add-ons.

“It should be noted that when the then leadership threatened to shut the University gate because of some perceived issues, that of school fees was not even high up on the list of the issues.

The only aspect of their agitation that is related to fees was the inclusion of returning (old) students in the Edo Health Insurance Scheme (EDOHIS).

“They claimed that they had reached an agreement with the Management of EDOHIS to exclude all returning students from 300L and above from the scheme.

The students were informed that the agreement they spoke about would be implemented only if it was true and was officially communicated to the University Management.”

The AAU Head of Corporate Communications and protocols also disclosed that the management’s position was predicated on the fact that the EDOHIS as a policy of the Edo State Government is currently being implemented across all tertiary institutions in the state and the decision to waive it or to determine its method of implementation for one institution could never be arbitrary.

“Dialogue was still ongoing between the Management and the students’ representatives, and most of the issues raised by the students then were already being addressed, when the students began the protest two days to the Edo State Local Government elections.

“Obviously, they had already decided to adopt confrontation as a strategy before pretending to be engaged in consultation. As an afterthought, the students hurriedly drafted a letter a day before the protest began and after meeting with the Acting Vice-Chancellor.

The letter reached the Acting Vice Chancellor the same day the protest began.

“It is the undisputed view of Management that there is nothing wrong with peaceful protests when all other options have failed but in this case, the dialogue option had not failed.

The only problem was when the protesters now started using their rights to protest to infringe on the rights of other persons. “Not right-thinking Management would fold its arms and watch a supposed peaceful protest deteriorate into anarchy and lawlessness.

“It should also be noted that the Senate had directed that under no circumstances should the University gates be shut in the name of protests.

They still dared the Senate and went ahead to lock up the University gates.” Otunba Mike Aladenika, in the statement which was made available to newsmen in Benin City, listed some of the activities of the protesters led by the erstwhile Student Union executives to include and not limited to:

“Holding students who wanted to obey Senate’s directive to vacate the campus hostage, and openly beating up some of them; violently attacking and causing injuries to persons who wanted to access their place of worship on campus. (The affected persons reported this action to the police and even threatened to embark on a reprisal attack on the protesters.) “Others were issuing threats to staff to prevent them from accessing their offices; allowing persons who are neither staff nor students of the University access to campus to hold inordinate and nocturnal meetings while chasing away and preventing staff and students from entering the campus.

“Not only these, they also prevented the ambulance conveying the corpse of a departed Professor from entering the main campus of the University and chasing mourners and sympathisers who were at the gate to attend the statutory commendation service in honour of the late Professor thereby preventing the commendation service in honour of the departed Professor from taking place; embarking on protests without first seeking and obtaining the approval of the relevant office as required.

“There are other documented infractions.

All entreaties made by representatives of the University Management to the dissolved leaders of the Student Union to be law-abiding in their conduct fell on deaf ears. Instead, more verbal threats of physical attacks were issued to the Management’s representatives.

“Ambrose Alli University has regulations guiding the activities of students. Any breach of the matriculation oath has its prescribed sanctions and consequences.

The Management could not have looked away and allowed these acts of lawlessness to continue.”

Aladenika further stated that the first step taken by the management was the immediate dissolution of the Student Union and then the setting up of a Caretaker Committee to continue the dialogue with Management on behalf of the law-abiding students.

Those already fingered and identified as culprits in these acts of lawlessness will definitely be held accountable in due time.

“On the issue of increase in School Fees for returning students, these erstwhile student leaders made attempts to misinform the public about the add-ons to the tuition fees

“These so-called add-ons are not new to the students. They have been paying them. They include the following:

Laboratory Dues, Student Union Dues, Alternative Subscription Model (ASM) Fee (formerly known as technology fee), Interswitch Transaction Charge, EDOHIS, Access Card (formerly ID Card), Accreditation Fees, Student Union Dues and Sports Development Fee.

“The Laboratory Dues, Faculty and Departmental Dues were hitherto paid to the respective Faculties and Departments. It was discovered that there were abuses associated with the collection of these Dues at the Departmental/Faculty levels.

“Some Departments have already been indicted and culpable staff dismissed from the services of the University.

To guard against these abuses, these dues were integrated into the students’ portal for proper documentation and monitoring.

The monies go to the accounts of the respective departments and faculties, not to the University Management.

“For the avoidance of doubt, these add-ons amounted to about Thirty Thousand Naira (N30,000.00) for all the programmes in the Faculties of Arts, Law, Management Sciences, Social Sciences and Environmental Studies; Thirty-Five Thousand Naira (N35,000.00) for all the programmes in the Faculties of Agriculture, Education, Engineering and Technology, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences; Sixty Thousand Naira (N60,000.00) for the Departments of Anatomy and Physiology and, Eighty Thousand Naira (N80,000.00) for the Department of Nursing and the Faculty of Medical Laboratory Sciences.

“The over one hundred and twenty thousand naira (N120,000.00) being bandied by the students is totally false. As a result of the ongoing repositioning of the MBBS programme, talks are currently on with critical stakeholders on what the realistic fees should be.

“The Management wishes to assure all law-abiding students of the University that whatever concerns they may have will be adequately addressed.

“They are advised to cooperate with the newly-appointed Student Caretaker Committee who have been given unfettered assess by both the Special Intervention Team (SIT) and the University Management in this regard.

The Management admonishes all students not to allow themselves to be used to cause a breach of the peace in the University over unfounded rumours.

“They should eschew acts that are detrimental to their wellbeing as students. A lot of misinformation is in the air, and all must keep emotions aside and seek clarifications whenever in doubt”, the AAU spokesperson further declared,