Following public outcry by Nigerians, the Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has ordered the cancelation of a ‘Pandemic Prevention Fee’ imposed on students of the Abia State University with immediate effect.
The school management, in a circular sent out to students and their guardians, had placed a N25,000 fee to be paid by students upon resumption on Monday, November 9, but later reduced it to N15,000,
Part of the circular had read:
“Please note that it is for the student’s health and that of others, that it will be necessary to show evidence of payment of the Pandemic Prevention Fee before entry into any of the campuses.”
However, the backlash and outcry that followed the imposition of the fee led to Gov Ikpaezu convening a Town Hall meeting with student union officials and the school management on Thursday, November 5, where he scrapped the fee, as well as announcing that his government would, henceforth, pay a bursary of N30,000 to students of Abia State origin studying in the university.
After the meeting, Gov Ikpeazu said:
“Yesterday, I had a Town Hall meeting with students and management of Abia State University where a fee of N25,000 per student was proposed as a medical fee but slashed to N15,000 to help ABSU put in place adequate measures to protect the soon to resume students from COVID-19 pandemic.
“In that same meeting, I approved immediate bursary payment to students of Abia origin in ABSU, to alleviate impact of COVID-19 on them & enable them meet the medical fee obligations with ease.
“However, after a deep review of the agreement & its likely effect on all the students & their parents, I’ve directed the immediate scrapping of the “pandemic prevention fee” by school management.
“Our government will now go ahead to pay N30,000 to each Abia student in the institution as further support to them, their parents and guardians in this very difficult moment of economic downturn caused by the global health crisis.
”Let me also add that we are proud of the progress made by the institution in the past 5 years and will continue to support them.”