Two students of the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, Peter Opurum and another student, were allegedly shot dead by a police man yesterday.
This is as students of Benue State University, Makurdi yesterday protested increase in their tuition fees by the school authority.
Meanwhile, the late Opurum, who was president of the Department of Management Sciences of the institution, was allegedly shot dead by the policeman during a protest carried out by UNIPORT students in the early hours of yesterday.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that the students had clashed with operatives of the Nigerian Police deployed to disperse the protesters, who had blocked both entrance and exit of the institution along the ever busy East-West Road axis of Choba.
Nigerian Pilot further gathered that trouble started when the policemen fired tear gas canisters on the students, who in turn threw pallets back at the policemen.
The university, it was also gathered, had announced increment of school fees to N47,000 since November 2015, giving the students April 4, 2016, as ultimatum to pay up or be deregistered as students of the institution.
However, the students are demanding extension of the deadline, as the time given to them is too short for them to pay up the new fees.
When contacted, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Ahmad Muhammad, who communicated to this reporter through a text message said the policemen were only there to carry out their duty, adding that the command would carry out investigation if it finds out a life was lost.
“What the police did was just the discharge of its mandate of restoring normalcy and orderliness in the university. No reported case of loss of life throughout the incident. In any case, if there is such, it will be investigated,” the message read.
On his part, the spokesman of the University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Williams Wodi dismissed the action, saying less than two percent of the students of the institution participated in the protest.
“What is going on is that less than two percent of our students are protesting and are refusing to allow workers and other students to come into the campus to start their exams or do their legitimate duties.
“We sensitised our students as far back as November 2015, that we are going to change the perception of the university where students carry over school fees from year one to the final year and that they should pay what we gave as outstanding charges because we do charge school fees.
“We told them that all returning students are to pay N45,000. That has been communicated through the school website, circular and the school bulletins. When we wanted to enforce the payment at the beginning of the session we saw that the compliance was very low; the first deadline was February 21, 2016, so we extended it to March 11, 2016. We made it lecture-free for all students so they could pay their fees. We recorded some mileage; then we extended it to March 30, 2016.
“We still have some students who had still not paid so we opened our portal on April 5 for them to pay, but we still had problems with a couple of them and reopened it on April 6 and closed it on midnight of April 7. You can see that from November last year to February 12, March 11, March 30, April 5 and finally, April 7, about 98 percent of students complied but about two percent of the students have not complied and they are the ones making heaven and earth meet.
“My position is the position of the senate of the institution. All those who are yet to pay by midnight of April 7, 2016, will automatically carry over the semester, not deregistered.”
In a similar development, students of Benue State University, BSU, yesterday, protested the increase in tuition fees by the management of the institution.
The protesting students carried placards bearing different inscriptions and blocked the road around the university, a development which disrupted traffic flow for about three hours.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that part of the problem was the recent hike of the acceptance fee for fresh and graduating students N5,000 to N25,000.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Moses Kembe, had explained that the increase which was approved by the state government became expedient due to the declining allocation to the university.
Kembe said the university needs to raise its internally generated revenue to meet several competing demands, especially accreditation of the law faculty which is to gulp over N119 million.
However, at a meeting last week with leaders of the students’ union and management of the university, Governor Samuel Ortom directed the vice chancellor to review the fees downward.
In spite of the governor’s directive, he stuck to his guns, hence the protest.
A final year student of Mass Communication, Grace Oloche, who spoke to Nigerian Pilot, lamented the increase.
She said: “It is too much. How do they expect us to pay this fee especially under the present economic hardship? My parents are just civil servants who have not been paid for over four months now. This is wickedness.”

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