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SPECIAL REPORT : Prostitution Booms, Construction Sites Flooded As Students Hustle For Hike Fees In Ogun, Others

Abiodun Spends N55.2bn On Nine Tertiary Institutions In Four Years 

Daud Olatunji

Recent increases in tuition fees across state-owned tertiary institutions have sparked a concerning trend among female students in Ogun and other regions.

 As PLATFORM TIMES investigates, a looming wave of dropouts is evident, with some resorting to unconventional means to secure funds for their education.

The investigation reveals a grim reality as economic pressures, aggravated by the recent fee hikes, force many female students to consider alternative paths. 

Some have already abandoned their education, while others are contemplating morally dubious avenues to finance their studies.

PLATFORM TIMES sheds light on the coping mechanisms adopted by students, including frequenting nightclubs, engaging in night activities, and resorting to both online and physical begging.

Student union leaders emphasise the desperate measures taken by their peers, who not only face the burden of educational costs but also struggle to meet basic needs.

Life becomes unbearable for numerous self-sponsored students who find themselves at the brink of dropping out due to the significant rise in fees. 

The current situation is dire, prompting fears among students and graduates about the potentially devastating consequences of escalating tuition fees.

Leaders like Comrade Abdul Azeez Olawale, Emmanuel Akinjetan, Adekola Hezekiah Babatunde, and Olatunji Idowu Alex share their insights, reflecting the distressing reality faced by students. The fee hike, coupled with economic challenges, paints a bleak picture for the future of education in these institutions.

In the wake of these developments, the question arises: Can the government address the financial strain on students, or will the repercussions of the tuition fee hikes continue to drive students towards desperate measures?

PLATFORM TIMES observed that the  unfolding narrative calls for urgent attention to ensure the accessibility and sustainability of higher education for all.

Tuition Hike Leading to Dire Consequences- TASUED SUG Warns 

 Emmanuel Akinjetan, the Students Union leader of Tai Solarin University of Education,Ijagun, has voiced concerns over the recent tuition fee hikes, emphasising the severe impact on female students who are reportedly forced into prostitution, as well as the looming threat of mass student dropouts.

The university administration initially raised tuition fees to N250,000, triggering widespread protests among students. 

Akinjetan revealed that despite their efforts, the initial reduction of N10,000 was rejected by the student body. Following continued negotiations, the fees were eventually scaled down to N158,000 and N148,000 for pure and education students, respectively.

Expressing his dismay, Akinjetan, a 200-level fine and applied art student, highlighted the challenges faced by self-sponsored students.

“Being a self-sponsored student paying over N90,000 before, struggling to cope with the revised fees of N148,000 and N158,000 is a daunting task,” he said, raising concerns about the ability of fellow students in similar situations to manage the financial burden.

He further emphasized the detrimental impact on female students, asserting that the fee increase has pushed some into prostitution as a desperate means to sustain themselves. 

Akinjetan warned of a potential rise in negative behaviours, attributing it to the inability of many students to afford education due to escalating tuition fees.

“As a student leader, our grievances must be channelled to the government. Education is a right, but in this country, we face complexities before obtaining that degree,” Akinjetan reiterated, underscoring the role of the government in addressing the concerns raised by the student body.

Reflecting on past efforts, he mentioned the union’s attempts to challenge the fee hike during their tenure, asserting that the state government is not oblivious to the situation. 

Akinjetan acknowledged the constraints faced in confronting the university management, likening them to an apprentice of the state government.

“The only hope the students have is the Students Union Executive, and we are also students. Our readiness exceeds our actions, and our grievances must be channeled to the government,” he emphasised, urging students, parents, and others to join in voicing their concerns.

Akinjetan reiterated that the government is the primary entity to address their grievances, emphasizing the need for collective action to mitigate the adverse effects of the tuition fee hike on the student community at Tai Solarin University of Education.

…  SUG President Raises Alarm on Tuition Fee Hike’s Dire Consequences

In a candid interview, Comrade Abdul Azeez Olawale, the immediate-past President of the Student Union Government (SUG) at Abraham Adesanya ICT Polytechnic,Ijebu-Igbo, shared his concerns about the adverse effects of the recent hike in tuition fees on students and society at large.

Olawale, who served as the 10th president, expressed deep worry over the ramifications of the tuition fee increase.

 He highlighted a disturbing trend where female students, unable to afford the higher fees, are reportedly resorting to risky behaviors, turning themselves into vulnerable targets for exploitation and falling prey to ritualists.

“The increment is one of the factors tempting the students to start misbehaving in the society,” Olawale remarked, emphasizing that the financial burden on students could lead to increased societal misconduct.

The former SUG president revealed that the tuition fees had surged from N78,000 to N105,500, prompting him to engage with the school management during his tenure. 

Olawale disclosed that he personally used his project funds to support a student’s education, emphasizing the importance of preventing dropouts to avoid societal nuisances.

Attributing the fee increase to the state government’s lack of funding for education, Olawale urged a collective effort to address the issue. 

He urged concerned citizens to channel their reports to the state government, accusing them of making life unbearable for students by placing the financial burden squarely on their shoulders.

During his tenure, Olawale took proactive measures to scrutinize the institution’s finances, obtaining audited accounts and breaking down the tuition fees to ensure transparency.

 He lamented that the state government’s directive for institutions to generate internal revenue had forced the school to rely heavily on student fees.

“The school of Science is paying N105,500 while non-science is N100,500,” Olawale detailed, underscoring the disproportionate impact on students based on their academic programs.

Furthermore, he painted a grim picture of students resorting to desperate measures, including online begging and engaging in night activities to make ends meet.

 Olawale pointed out that even students with parental support were facing challenges, with some contemplating dropping out due to the financial strain.

Highlighting additional expenses such as daily commuting, practical fees, and other miscellaneous costs, Olawale emphasized the real struggle students face to survive, urging the government to acknowledge and address their plight.

As the new academic session commences, Olawale encourages students to persevere, despite the hurdles. His plea echoes the sentiments of many students facing the harsh reality of escalating tuition fees and the broader financial challenges within the educational system.

No Tuition Fee Increase At Saapade Polytechnic- SUG President 

In a recent statement, Olatunji Idowu Alex, the Student Union Government (SUG) president of Gateway Polytechnic, Saapade, Remo, reassured students that the institution’s tuition fees remain unchanged. 

Alex stated, “As regards my own institution for now, our school fees are still very intact, and we are still paying the same amount we’ve been paying for about two to three years.”

According to the SUG president, there has been no adjustment in tuition fees, and even for the Higher National Diploma (HND) freshers, the tuition fee remains at N65,000. 

“Nothing has changed for now; they have not changed our school fees,” he emphasised, providing a sense of stability for the student body.

However, Alex pointed out a notable change that has raised concerns among students – the introduction of a health insurance fee. 

“The only thing they changed, and I’m actually worried about, is the health insurance fee. 

“All departments in the school are mandated to pay that fee, and it’s N8,000. It’s compulsory for every student, and they have actually put it on the portal,” he explained.

While the health insurance fee is now a mandatory addition, the SUG president assured students that, as of now, there has been no increase in the core tuition fees. 

“For now, our school fee is still intact, but we don’t know if they’ll increase it or not,” he added, acknowledging the uncertainty that students may feel regarding potential future changes.

Apart from financial concerns, Alex highlighted other challenges facing the student community. 

“The only challenge we are facing aside from school fees is robbery cases and a hike in [unspecified].” These security and safety issues add an extra layer of concern for the student body.

Alex said Gateway Polytechnic, Saapade, remains consistent in its tuition fees, providing a degree of financial predictability for students. 

He however said the  introduction of a health insurance fee, though compulsory, has not affected the core tuition structure. 

The SUG president, while acknowledging uncertainty about future changes, assures students that, for now, there is no indication of a tuition fee increase.

MAPOLY Students Allege Hidden Tuition Fee Hike Plot 

The President of the Student Union Government (SUG) at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Adekola Hezekiah Babatunde, has accused the institution’s management of employing a deceptive strategy regarding tuition fees.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that last year,  students vehemently protested against an increase in acceptance fees.

It was gathered that  following the protest, the Commissioner for Education urged the student leaders to engage in dialogue with the management. 

The SUG president disclosed that It was during these discussions that the students discovered the fee hike extended beyond acceptance fees, impacting tuition, certificates, and verification of statement of results.

“Negotiations ensued, and after a meeting with the commissioner, the students were permitted to proceed with their exams, provided that the fees remained unchanged.

 “However, concerns have arisen regarding the upcoming academic session, as the management has not yet published the school fee amounts.”

SUG President Babatunde expressed suspicion, stating, “On the school fee, the management is yet to publish any amount.

“ I think they are tricking us, possibly waiting for me to hand over the presidency. It wouldn’t be surprising if they unveil an increment once I relinquish my position.”

“The students’ leader also highlighted discrepancies in payment amounts among different schools within MAPOLY.”

 According to him, a student from the School of Management is paying N48,000, while a counterpart from the School of Science is paying N56,000.

 However, unverified rumours circulate about a potential fee hike to N150,000 and N155,000 for the Schools of Management and Science, respectively.

As the SUG President prepares to hand over his responsibilities, he emphasized that the fee hike is still speculative. Nevertheless, the student body remains on alert, wary of any impending changes to the tuition fees. 

OOU Students Grappling With Shock Over  fee increase

 Attempts to contact the student leader for comments proved futile as his phone line remained inaccessible, but several students shared their grievances with PLATFORM TIMES.

One distressed female student, currently in her 100 level, shed light on the staggering fee hikes in various departments. “Right now, I am in 100 level, and I have been asked to pay N350,000 as a pharmacy student,” she revealed. 

“Last year, as a student of Anatomy, she paid N107,326, but this year, the current 100 level students in Anatomy are faced with a daunting fee of N250,000.

The situation is equally dire for pharmacy students, who paid N160,000 in the previous session but now find themselves obligated to pay N350,000. Such increases, all payable at once, have left students struggling to cope with the financial burden.

Even students in the Education department, who paid less than N100,000 last year, now face a fee hike to over N200,000. 

The sudden escalation in fees has sparked concerns among students about the viability of continuing their education. 

One student, when asked if she is self-sponsoring, responded, “I have parents that sponsor my education.”

However, the implications of these exorbitant fees are evident. The student highlighted that many peers may resort to dropping out or deferring their studies to work and accumulate funds to meet the new financial demands. 

In a poignant revelation, she shared, “There was a time we held a Twitter space discussion during the plan to hike the fees, many of my colleagues said it there that they would drop out because they could not cope with the financial obligations.”

The financial strain is not limited to OOU alone, as students at TASUED are reportedly deferring their studies to work for additional funds.

 The fear of not being able to meet the increased fees is palpable, leading to decisions that could potentially disrupt the academic journey of many.

Moreover, the female student acknowledged the rising trend of students turning to sugar daddies as a coping mechanism.

 She stated, “It has been happening, and it will happen more due to the increment.”

 The fee hike appears to be pushing students to extreme measures, further highlighting the urgency for a comprehensive review of the new fee structure at Olabisi Onabanjo University.

Students  Face Financial Strain Amid Tuition Fee Hikes

Some students are expressing their concerns about the financial burden they now face.

 Bakre Mordiyyah, a student at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), shared her experience, revealing that she has decided not to pursue her Higher National Diploma (HND) due to the increased fees, opting instead to take the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) route.

Mordiyyah, who had already paid N83,000 for her National Diploma (ND) at MAPOLY, expressed frustration, echoing the sentiments of many students who find themselves grappling with the rising cost of education. 

Additionally, she highlighted the potential impact on female students, stating that some were already engaged in prostitution before the fee increment, and the rise could drive more towards this path, especially those self-sponsoring due to familial constraints.

Kehinde from Obafemi Awolowo University,emphasised the financial struggle faced by students, revealing that the fees for her programme  had surged from N25,000 to N70,000. 

She however, said  the intervention of the student union government led to a reduction from the initially proposed N90,000. 

Kehinde shared that the instalment payment option, despite being a relief, still poses challenges as students strive to secure the necessary funds.

Zainab Faronbi, a 400-level student at Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), expressed her dismay over the significant increase in fees from N75,500 to N148,500.

 Despite acknowledging the relief provided by installment payments, she noted that the financial strain remains a concern. 

Faronbi emphasised the resilience of students, asserting that many would seek legitimate means to fund their education, though some might resort to temporarily deferring their studies to gather the required funds.

Addressing the fee structure at TASUED, Faronbi highlighted that Education students now pay N91,500, up from N75,500, while BSc students face a fee of N148,500. 

The payment is divided into 60% for the first semester and 40% for the second semester. 

While acknowledging the likelihood of dropouts, she remained optimistic that the impact may not be as severe as anticipated.

Ogun Spends N55bn on 9 Tertiary Institutions In Four Years 

A sum of N55.223,858,559.47 has been spent by Ogun State government on nine state-owned tertiary institutions between 2020 and 2023..

The institutions ; Sikiru Adetona College of Education,Sconce and Technology ,Omu-Ajose which was formerly Tai Solarin College of Education,Omu, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic,Abeokuta, D.S Adegbenro ICT Institute, Itori,Ewekoro,Gateway ICT Polytechnic, Igbesa, Gateway ICT Polytechnic ,Saapade,Remo, Abraham Adesanya  ICT Polytechnic, Ijebu-Igbo,Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun and  Gateway Industrial Petro-Gas Institute,Oni,OgunWaterside .

PLATFORM TIMES also observed that College of Health Technology,ailese-Ijebu which has been renamed Ogun State Polytechnic of Health and Allied Sciences was  moved from the ministry of Education by Abiodu ‘’s government.

Abiodun assumed office in May 29, 2019 and executed the budget prepared by his predecessor for the  remaining seven months.

He began his first ever budgeting for the nine Institutions in 2020.

PLATFORM TIMES captured the budget for the state-owned tertiary institutions as prepared by Abiodun’s government for four years which gulped N55.2bn.

Ogun State has been arguably ranked the state with largest state-owned tertiary institutions with two full universities, four ICT Polytechnic s,and three colleges and institutes  under it’s control .

PLATFORM TIMES’s investigation revealed that the nine Institutions spent N19,331,359,957.39 while a sum of N20,118,380,358.96 was generated in 2023.

The breakdown of the expenditures revealed that  Abiodun budgeted N2,301,230,775.57 for Sikiru Adetona College of Education ,Sconce and Technology,Omu-Ajose between 2020 and 2023.

For Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta , a sum of N8,942,423,524.73 was earmarked for four years while D.S Adegbenro ICT Institute gulped a sum.of N2,622,513,313.25 for four years .

Also, Gateway ICT Polytechnic ,Igbesa had a sum.of N 2,941,308,765.23 while Gateway ICT Polytechnic ,Saapade got th sum of N3,049,686,673.76 between 2020 and 2023 .

Further investigation by PLATFORM TIMES showed that Abraham Adesanya ICT  Polytechnic, Ijebu-Igbo, got N1,794,880,059.5 while Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, had a sum of N19,632,856,781.1 as Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, received a sum of N13,938,958,667.03 just as Gateway Industrial Petro-Gas  Institute, Oni, Ogunwaterside collected a paltry sum of  N518,208,572.25 for four years.

The investigation revealed that the administration of Abiodun gave priority to OOU as it committed N19.6bn on the first state university in the state while TASUED followed the suit with N13.9nn . MAPOLY got the lion share amongst its peers ; with a sum of N8.9bn in four years.

Further findings showed that these schools were still being underfunded despite the N55.2bn expenditure by the state government in four years.

While some stakeholders we’re canvassing merging of the two state universities for prudence many others kicked against the idea ,saying the two universities have different philosophies and purposes.

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