Gov. Okezie averts crisis in ABSU, scraps COVID-19 levy

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Gov.Okezie Victor Ikpeazu

Abia state Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, has scrapped the fifteen thousand naira, “pandemic prevention fee” imposed on the students of Abia state University (ABSU) by the school management.

This decision was taken after the governor met with ABSU management, and executives of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) at Government House, Umuahia, the state capital.

However, Gov. Ikpeazu announced that his government will pay thirty thousand naira bursary to each ABSU student of Abia origin.

He said the financial support was meant for the students to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on them and to enable them meet their medical fee obligation with ease.

SummitNews recalls that ABSU management had by a memo dated 21st October 2020, and signed by the University Registrar, Acho Elendu, ordered each student of the university to pay a “pandemic prevention fee” of fifteen thousand naira, saying that the fee is for the promotion of the students health.

The memo obtained by SummitNews reads in part:  “This is to inform all regular students of Abia state University that the university resumed for the completion of first semester 2019/2020 academic session on Monday 26th October, 2020. 

“Having fumigated the hostel and lecture hall, students are expected to return from Monday 9th November 2020.

“The first Semester 2019/2020 examination will commence on Monday 16th November 2020.

“All returning students are to pay a “pandemic prevention fee” of fifteen thousand naira only, ensure registration of their courses, to be eligible to participate in the examinations.

Prof.E.U Ikonne

“All payments should be done through the online payment system of the university before commencement of examinations.

“Please note that it is for the students’ health and that of others that it will be necessary to show evidence of payment of the “pandemic prevention fee” before entry into any of the campuses.”

ABSU has about 30,000 undergraduates.  If the 30, 000 students pay fifteen thousand naira, management would earn about four hundred and fifty million naira.

It was gathered that the university management planned to use the money realized from the COVID-19 pandemic fee to pay part of the salary arrears of both teaching and non-teaching staff that are reportedly being owed five months salary.

Gov. Ikpeazu had four weeks earlier reportedly promised to give four hundred million naira subvention to the institution, to enable it pay salary, procure COVID-19 equipment, and for the running of the school.

It was not clear by press time today whether Gov. Ikpeazu has fulfilled his promised in this regard.

Meanwhile, some of the students who spoke to SummitNews, thanked Gov. Ikpeazu for scrapping the fifteen thousand naira “pandemic prevention fee” imposed by the school management on the students.

They, however, appealed to the governor to channel the thirty thousand naira bursary towards payment of outstanding salary of teaching and non-teaching staff to enhance their performance.

Meanwhile, ABSU students have made a four-point demand on the school management.  They are: an official memo signed by the school management and the government stating the scrapping of the fifteen thousand “pandemic prevention fee.”

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