The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the recent surge in tuition fees at public tertiary institutions in the country, including the University of Lagos (UniLag) and Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
In a statement, HURIWA said the fee hikes are “anti-poor and anti-people” and “threaten the fundamental right to quality education.”
The group also condemned the use of force by the police to disperse student protests against the fee hikes.
“Peaceful protests are a constitutionally protected form of expression, and we condemn any undue force or intimidation by the Police against these students exercising their rights,” HURIWA said.
The group called on the relevant authorities to revisit their decisions and prioritize accessible, quality education for all Nigerians.
“The right to education is sacrosanct and must not be undermined by policies that exacerbate the multidimensional poverty affecting over 133 million households in Nigeria,” HURIWA said.
The group also warned that the fee hikes could spark nationwide unrest.
“Education is a cornerstone of national development and denying it to the majority of our population is a grave injustice that cannot be tolerated,” HURIWA said.
The group called on the government to take urgent steps to address the issue of high school fees and ensure that all Nigerians have access to quality education.
Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in Africa, with a population of over 200 million people. According to the World Bank, over 133 million Nigerians live below the national poverty line.
The cost of education in Nigeria is a major barrier to access, especially for poor families. The average annual tuition fee for a public university in Nigeria is about $2,000, which is out of reach for many families.
The recent surge in school fees has made it even more difficult for students to afford a college education. This is likely to have a negative impact on the country’s human capital development and economic growth.