Monday, July 22, 2024

Outage: UNIBEN shut indefinitely over students’ protest

“Students are to vacate the hostels immediately.’’

• July 4, 2024

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

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

Recall that 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.

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

The university was thrown into a blackout by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company following the inability to reach agreement on the contentious electricity billings.

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

The students during an interview amid heavy rainfall said that they were hellbent on continuing the rampage unless their demands were met.

But in the notice of closure, Mr Ehanire described the students’ demand for 1,125-hour supply of electricity as unrealistic.

“Following the insistence of students of the University of Benin not to shift grounds on their demands for twenty four 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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