By Ibrahim Bello
The Kebbi Government has appealed to the management of Umaru Waziri Polytechnic, Birnin Kebbi to reconsider the banning of 7,000 Kebbi students from writing semester examinations over the government failure to settle the students tuition fees.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Dr Isah Sama, told newsmen in Birnin Kebbi on Tuesday that the action of the Polytechnic did not reflect the good spirit of understanding between it and the state government.
“We were quite surprised when we heard that the management of the Waziri Umaru Polytechnic, Birnin Kebbi, has denied both our returning and fresh students access to write examinations for not paying the 2018/2019 school fees.
“Upon all the understanding that has existed between us they went ahead to do this to students; this is not in line with the good spirit of the understanding we have,” he said.
Sama noted that the government had written an undertaking with other institutions outside the state over the same problem and wondered why the Polytechnic took the punitive action against the students in spite of the commitment.
“In spite of our disappointment with their action, we are still hoping to reach an agreement as we have sent a delegation and they are now there negotiating with them, ” the permanent secretary said.
However, the Rector of the Polytechnic, Arch. Sani Aliyu, denied that the students were stopped from writing examinations.
“We have not stopped genuine students from writing exams. Those you see around are not our students.
“You all know that a student who has gotten admission from Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has two choices of institutions he or she makes.
“If a student doesn’t pay for his school fee to his first choice institution, it is assumed he has chosen another institution and not interested in the first one.
“As for the returning students, a student is allowed to suspend his studies; when a student doesn’t pay his/her fees they are also assumed they have suspended their studies for reason based known to them,” he explained.
According to him, the institutions closed registration on May 2, 2019, but based on the complainant of some of the students, it was extended to the end of May, 2019.
“We are aware some institutions if they close registration they charge minimum of N5,000 after the closing date, but even yesterday some students paid their fees and are allowed to write their exams today,” the rector said.
One of the affected students, Shafiu Mohammad, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he has no means of playing the fees, and appealed to the state government and the Polytechnic to find an amicable solution to the problem.
“You see, my parents cannot afford to pay for my registration fee as I am from a very poor family, if the issue is not resolved, I will have no option than to leave the school as I have no means of paying the fees, unless if the government pays for me,” he said.