Prof. Joe Iorapuu, Vice-Chancellor of Benue State University, BSU, said on Monday that between 2010 and 2019, students of the school owed the university approximately N1.82 billion in unpaid tuition.
He noted that, in addition to non-payment of tuition, many students were in the habit of failing to register as legitimate students of the institution even after they had paid their fees, therefore depriving themselves of the privileges granted to recognized students of the university.
The Vice-Chancellor who spoke in Makurdi against the backdrop of the rumoured instigated protest by selected students against the reforms his administration had introduced in the university said the reform was already yielding positive results.
According to him, “we have achieved remarkable results in our reform agenda though I am still working on it and I understand that the population of students is 24,135. And the information I received from my ICT unit is that out of this, 19,828 have registered, which is 82 percent of the student population.
“They told me that they had never achieved up to 40 percent in the past. This means that some students would come to school pay fees without registering while some will not pay at all but attend lectures claiming to our students.
“Also, out of the above number, 997 students representing four percent paid but failed to register and you cannot believe that this number includes 300 and 400 levels students. While a population of 3,320 which is 13 percent have not paid or registered and some are attending lectures.
“And in terms of human capital development that figure is huge because 200 bad eggs can destroy over 10,000 people who want to have peace of mind.
“So for me and the university, this is a source of worry. Many have resorted to social media to claim that it is a community school and that they do not need to pay fees. But without paying fees how do we run the university and provided amenities because outside salaries the government does not give us anything extra.”
The Vice-Chancellor cautioned students against casting the university in bad light on social media over policies that were meant for the good of the students saying “you cannot call your university a scam and expect that school to issue you a certificate.”
He noted that the decision to have all students undergo necessary registration in order to be recognized as students of the university was sacrosanct stressing that he had already met with the Student Union over the matter.
Prof. Iorapuu stated that the union acknowledged the benefits of the reforms and the university had decided to reopened its portal to allow those who did not register to do so to enable them to write their examinations just as they have apologized in writing.
“We told them that we have listened to them. And we have 997 that paid but did not resister, so beginning from yesterday (Sunday) at 8 pm we are opening the portal for them to register and by 6 pm Monday we will close it. And they were happy.”
He said the management also decided to reopen the portal to enable payments and registration of the other 3,320 students starting by 12noon Monday to 6 pm Tuesday. “And the argument is that we have made our statement that it is very clear now that it is no longer business as usual.
“So, with this, all those students who are planning to go on the streets tomorrow to protest will have no basis because as far as we are concerned we have taken the necessary steps to address their concerns though there are people who are still stoking embers of crisis,” he said.