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‘Total Blackmail’ – Alex Ekwueme University Denies Asking Students To Forfeit Clinical Student Status As It Increases Hostel Fee To N300,000

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The management of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike (AE-FUNA), Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, has denied asking students to forfeit its clinical student status after increasing its accommodation fee to N300,000.

Naija News had obtained a document with reference number: FUNAI/COM/S/105/Vol.1/ dated 02/08/2021 that announced the new fee for another academic session.

Memo announcing the increase in hostel fee

According to the memo which was signed by Deputy Registrar/Secretary, College of Medical Sciences, Dr F.C Albi-Oparaocha, the total school fees for medical students amount to N513,500.

However, some students have expressed dissatisfaction over the increase of the accommodation fees from N70,000 to N300,000.

They accused the university of not carrying along the Students Union Government (SUG) when making its decision.

A source told Naija News that, “the university wish to suck its medical students dry.

“With the current economic situation it is inhumane to demand such fees from these students.”

According to the source, the university management asked students to comply with the new fee increase of forfeit their clinical student status and move to another course.

The source disclosed that the university also gave its student a deadline to pay up the fees.

But speaking to Naija News on Monday, Head, Public Relation and Information, AE-FUNA, Elom Iyke Ubochi, dismissed claims that it asked students to forfeit their clinical status and move to other courses.

While describing the claim as total blackmail, Iyke stated that the varsity has always been open with its policies as it has nothing to hide.

He also stated that members of the SUG and executives of the faculty have always been carried along, noting that management had just last week met with various student bodies.

The varsity spokesman stated that the university decided to get a hostel for its medical students close to its Teaching Hospital as the hostel being constructed by AE-FUNA is yet to be completed.

According to him, since the university is yet to complete its hostel the only option was to provide alternative accommodation or suspend the clinical training until the hostel is complete.

Noting that it would be unfair to suspend the programme for one year, the Alex Ekwueme Federal University decided to find an alternative.

While insisting that the university is carrying everyone along, Elom Iyke revealed that a meeting earlier scheduled to hold between parents and school management today had to be postponed due to the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Alleged WhatsApp message from a varsity official

Message allegedly from the school management

Message allegedly from the school

Recall that the Univeristy had in a statement on its website stated “For the avoidance of doubt, the hostel fee for medical students in the University is N50, 000 and a refundable caution fee of N20,000, making it a total of N70, 000 for a session.

“However, in September 2021, our 400 level medical students are expected to commence their Clinical studies at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.

“More importantly, the concerned students are expected to be resident at the teaching hospital which is about 25 kilo meters from the University campus at Ikwo. However, the Medical students’ hostel at the teaching hospital is still under construction and will be completed next year.

“Thus, the University had two options – one is to suspend the clinical training till the students’ hostel is completed. Second, is to devise another means of providing alternative accommodation to the students.

“The University, in the interest of the students, meant to ensure that their academic activities are not suspended, negotiated with a private estate owner to rent his fully furnished building, with 150 KVA standby power generating set for uninterrupted power supply, located about 200 meters from the hospital, as hostel for the student.

“This is only a stop-gap mechanism, as the students are expected to move into the school hostel being constructed in the teaching hospital immediately it is completed next year. This will automatically normalize their hostel fees.

“This interim measure which will cost each student N300,000 will ensure that their academic activities are not put on hold. It will also help in sustaining the accreditation of their programme by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, who are expected to come for another round of accreditation exercise by February 2022. It is also important to note that the hostel fees the students are paying are not even enough to offset the total cost of renting the building as the students are only 38 in number. Management will augment the shortfall.

“It is therefore surprising that mischief makers and 5th columnists are latching on this interim decision geared towards the sustenance of the academic activities of our students, to denigrate and blackmail the University in the public domain.

“Finally, the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi state, views the academic interests of our students very seriously, and has consistently made sacrifices for their good. This decision was made in their own interest.”

George Oshogwe Ogbolu is a Digital Media Strategist | Content Writer | Journalist | New Media Influencer | Proofreader and a Deputy Editor at Naija News.

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