A peaceful protest was staged on Thursday by the medical students of the University of Ibadan against the introduction of N100,000 health professional training levy.
The protesting students drawn from the College of Medicine made their displeasures known at the Alexander Brown Hall (ABH), University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, displaying placards with different inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read: “Health Professional Training Levy is scam”, “No to N100,000”, “We cannot afford it”, “Save Ibadan Medicine”, and “Free Education is my right.”
The protesting students also locked the gate to the hall of residence and prevented entry and exit into the ABH until around 4pm.
One of the protesters who spoke under the condition of anonymity said: “We are protesting because of the increment on top of our N23,000 school fees. Initially, the management told us that they would add professional training levy to our school fees, and it will be for all professional courses in the university such as medicine, pharmacy, engineering and so on.
“But the medical students in the College of Medicine are the only ones that have been mandated to pay the fees. It is not good. Why will brilliant students will be treated poorly like that?”
Another protester also stated: “The College of Medicine said it takes about N600, 000 to train a medical student. And gradually the university wants to increase the fees we are paying gradually through the college to N600, 000.
“In this ABH, our accommodation fee has also been increased from N14, 000 to N40, 000. Only one tap is working in this hall. We go as far as UCH first gate to fetch water, yet we are not complaining. But the N100, 000 health professional training levy is too much. Many of us cannot afford it.
“I am in this College of Medicine because I am brilliant. I do menial jobs to complement the stipend my parents are giving me in order to maintain my studentship in the college. Many of my colleagues are orphans.
“If the levy is not reversed, many of us will drop out of school. Not only that, Medicine will become a course that will be studied only by children of the rich. I know my financial capabilities, which is why I opted for federal university. If I have rich parents, I would have gone to a private university.”
Efforts to get comments from the Provost, College of Medicine, did not yield positive result as he was said to have gone for a programme on the campus of UI at the time of visit to the office.
Sources however hinted that Prof Adebowale Afuwape, who was introduced as Dean of Students, College of Medicine, was said to have addressed the students at the ABH with a promise that he would take their message to the management of the college.
The protesting students, it was learnt however, did not allow him into the premises of the ABH, as he addressed them from across the gate that was firmly locked.