The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, UNIBEN, Prof Lilian Salami, has reversed the closure of the university barely 24 hours after management shut down the school following protest by students over introduction of N20,000 late registration fee.
Prof. Salami also apologized to the protesting students, saying the institution acted on security report to have ordered closure of academic activities.
The apology was contained in an internal circular signed by University’s Registrar, Ademola Bobola.
According to the circular, the management urged the students to disregard the closure order issued on Tuesday.
Top officials of the institution confirmed the development under strict condition of anonymity on Wednesday.
The two-page paragraph statement reads; “After due consultation, and in the overall interest of the general students’ body, the Vice Chancellor has, on behalf of Senate, apologized to our dear students.
DSS Role in Closure Of UNIBEN
“This is based on security reports from the Department of State Security (DSS) to avoid the students’ action being hijacked by hoodlums; and thereby prevent any form of breakdown of law and order within and outside the campuses of the University.”
It was, however, not clear if the institution has rescinded the N20,000 extra charges imposed on late payment of school fees by the new directive.
The protesting students had defied the University’s management’s order to vacate their hostels before they received the institution’s directive.
The students had taken to the campus and major streets of Benin to protest the introduction of N20,000 extra charges imposed on late payment of school fees by the students.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Lilian Salami, in a statement Tuesday night, ordered immediate closure of the institution and directed the students to vacate their respective hostels latest 12noon on Wednesday.
Our correspondent who visited the University on Wednesday observed presence of some security operatives, including soldiers at one of the female hostels, trying to make them leave, but the UNIBEN students stood their ground, refusing to leave their hostels in adherence to the closure.
A female student who was sighted leaving with her clothe box, was jeered and booed by other female students who called her a coward.
Some other male students were also sighted at the VC’s lodge, attempting to picket the place.
A security vehicle belonging to the Edo State security outfit, Operation Wabaizigan, driven to the university by police operatives, was chased out by the students at the main entrance.
A staff of the University who chose to remain anonymous, told our correspondent that he sighted the VC while being driven to the main gate of the University, with hundreds of undeterred students milling round her convoy.