The Benue State School of Nursing and Midwifery has been shut down by the state government following protest by the students against the decision of the management to hike their fees.
The students aside protesting on the fee hike, were also said to have been irked by the unhygienic environment of the institution.
Some of the students, complained bitterly that the institution despite being a health institute lacks basic facilities that aid healthy living, as no potable water, toilets facilities among others top their list. The students lamented being forced to go and search for water within the neighbourhood.
They alleged that the school authority and the state Ministry of Health and Human Services turned a deaf ear to their complaints.
One of the student leaders expressed anguish at the manner their school fee was increased from N50,000 to N80,000 without any official announcement.
He wandered why the school authority would compel them to pay the fees before they could sit for their examinations.
“They increased the fees without approval by the state government. You find a situation where students go with N50,000 to pay as fees for the whole year only to be told by the accountant to pay an additional N30,000. This is happening during examination period.
“Students’ welfare too is very poor. We had a situation recently where a student collapsed and the school’s management could not treat him,” the student leader narrated.
“His course mates had to contribute money and take him to Benue State Teaching Hospital where he is recuperating. We do not have toilets. Students defecate in the open and most of them especially the female ones had contacted bacteria diseases and this is a medical school. We have been paying school fees and nothing is done with those monies.
“Water is a big challenge. Some students went to the Government House recently to fetch water and they were almost sent packing but for the intervention of some well to do individuals.
“Our clinical allowances of paltry N3,000 monthly have not been paid for over six years now. Also, the school authority has deliberately refused to inaugurate a Students’ Union on campus so as to continue to manipulate us,” he complained.
However, in a swift reaction to the allegations raised by the students, the state Commissioner for Health and Human Service, Dr. Joseph Ngbea, who spoke on phone, frowned on the protest by the students, noting that it was an embarrassment to the government and the ministry.
He denied that his office had no knowledge of any increase in school fees, assuring that the students’ grievances would be looked into.