UNIBEN Shuts Down Indefinitely Over Students’ Protest

By Agency Report

The authorities of the University of Benin, Edo State, on Thursday, shut down academic activities in the institution indefinitely.

The university, in a statement by its spokesperson, Benedicta Ehanire, attributed the decision to the refusal of the students to shift grounds on their demands.

The students on Wednesday took to the streets, blocking the ever-busy Benin-Ore highway to protest weeks of power outage on campus.

The students, who had two weeks until their first semester examination, said the situation was severely affecting their preparation.

They also called for a downward review of transport fare by the UNIBEN shuttle service, which was increased with effect from 1 July.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the university was thrown into a blackout by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company following the inability to reach agreement over contentious electricity billings.

The monthly bill was said to have jumped from about N80 million to between N200 million and N280 million, forcing the university to resort to power generators as well as rationalisation of power on the two campuses and hostels.

When a NAN correspondent spoke with the protesting students amidst heavy rainfall, they were hell-bent on continuing the protest unless their demands were met.

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But in the notice of closure made available to NAN, the university spokesperson, Mr Ehanire, described the students’ demand for 24-hour supply of electricity as unrealistic.

“Following the insistence of students of the University of Benin not to shift grounds on their demands for a 24 hours’ supply of electricity and more, considered unrealistic by the university’s Senate, the university has shut down academic activities indefinitely.

“Students are to vacate the hostels immediately while all the relevant units of the university are to take note and comply.

“However, non-teaching staff and staff on essential duties are not affected by the shut down,” said the university’s spokesperson.

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