Suit Against UNIPORT VC Over No Pay, No Exam Policy By Aggrieved Students

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo)- Some aggrieved students of the University of Port Harcourt, Choba in Rivers State, Nigeria have dragged the management of the institution under the leadership of Prof. Ndowa Lale to court for enforcing a policy that disallowed students who have not paid their fees to participate in examinations.
The ‘No Payment No Examination’ policy, inherited by the current administration was never implemented those before it, including the immediate past administration of Prof. Joseph Ajienka. According to the students, the policy lacked human face; a major distraction and threat to their future. However, the same policy that was ignored by Prof. Ajienka turned out to become a major issue for Prof. Lale,  in deference to the objections of  aggrieved students.
It would be recalled that, for some time, this policy has been the reason for crisis involving students in that institution leading to a loss of life, and many indigent students are being frustrated by extension of years in school because of carry over of courses occasioned by missed examinations.
The irony in the whole struggle is that, many of those involved in the management of that institution are beneficiaries of scholarships and subsidies from the federal and state governments, and never had to face a situation of being compelled to stay longer in school because of inability to pay their fees before registering for a new session. Besides, the Federal Ministry of Education is raising issues over demand by institutions of higher learning to compel students to pay tuition fees because the institutions get subventions from government.
While we commend the aggrieved students for challenging the unpopular decision of Prof. Lale- led administration at UNIPORT to frustrate indigent students, most of who are indigenes of Rivers State and NIGER DELTA, at a time when many families are experiencing declining financial fortunes, we strongly feel that the action should have been taken up much earlier by the student union of that institution.
We are in solidarity with the students. We commend them for this bold and mature initiative. We are very confident that justice will not only be served in this case but that it will be seen to be served. It is indeed amazing that, at this age and time, some persons still think that they can drive and enslave others: That they can frustrate poor students from getting education and improve their chances of getting out of poverty. We advice the Lale management at UNIPORT to visit the sister Rivers State University to see how their own policy has been given a human face.
The aggrieved students of University of Port Harcourt have made a statement: that while they are disposed to obeying lawful decisions of the institution, that they cannot be cowed to accept any policy that threatens their future. They must be supported because injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

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