Barely a month and three weeks after Ebonyi state University, EBSU, Abakaliki, was closed down as a result of violent protests by students of the institution over unresolved issues surrounding tuition fees and provision of basic amenities, Governor Martin Elechi Wednesday reopened the institution after due consultations with the University authorities.
The Governor who made this known during a radio/television broadcast on the closure of the institution at the State-owned Broadcasting Corporation, EBBC, called on the law enforcement agents to ensure that no law abiding students or member of the public within the University environment were molested as his administration would not treat with levity any situation that might further degenerate into the breakdown of law and order in the state.
According to him, the fixing of fees payable in any educational institution is the exclusive responsibility of the management or, in the case of private institutions, the Proprietors of such institutions, stressing that "It is not an agreement between the University management and intending students of the University. Neither are the fees fixed arbitrarily to exploit anybody".
He said: "I have conferred variously with the security agents and the management of Ebonyi state University We are all in agreement that the security situation has sufficiently improved to justify the re-opening of the University.
That being the case, I have no objection to the University authorities deciding on the reopening date and on what terms and conditions the students may come back.
The law enforcement agents are enjoined to ensure that no law-abiding students, lecturers or members of the public within the University environment, are molested, while, at the same time, making sure that all trouble-shooters are handled as appropriate.
This administration will never treat with levity any situation that results into, or is likely to lead to, the breakdown of law and order.
This is why government is very much concerned with what happened in our university, which led to its closure on the 27th day of February, 2013."
Elechi further explained that EBSU among other institutions was still charging the lowest tuition fees in the South East geopolitical zone of the country, despite the state’s low level of revenue.
"Consequently, where a state as poor as Ebonyi state, out of consideration for its citizens, venture to establish a university, it is not to be expected that the university should be run as a charitable organization.
Even with our low level of revenue, our tertiary institutions are still charging the lowest tuition fees in the South East region of Nigeria, while at the same time, the state government pays the highest subvention to its University.
It is hoped that those who have been identified by the law enforcement agents as intruders from outside, and/or destroyers of public property will face due prosecution in our law courts."
Meantime, a principal officer (name withheld) of the University who confirmed the reopening of the institution stated that full academic activities are set to commence 22nd April, 2013.