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UNIBEN suspends academic activities indefinitely over students’ protest

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UNIBEN suspends academic activities indefinitely over students’ protest

University of Benin (UNIBEN) authorities have announced the indefinite closure of academic activities on Thursday due to ongoing student protests.

In a statement released by the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Dr. Benedicta Ehanire, the decision was made as a result of students’ steadfastness in their demands.

The protests, which saw students blocking the busy Benin-Ore Highway on Wednesday, were triggered by persistent power outages on campus in the lead-up to the students’ impending first-semester exams.

Expressing concerns over the adverse impact on their exam preparation, students further demanded a rollback of the increased transport fares by the UNIBEN shuttle service with effect from July 1.

The university was thrown into a blackout by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) 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 and N280 million, forcing the university to resort to power generators as well as rationalisation of power on the two campuses and hostels.

READ ALSO: UNIBEN students clash with soldiers over cash withdrawal

When journalists spoke with the protesting students amidst heavy rainfall, they were hellbent on continuing the rampage unless their demands are met.

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

“Following the insistence of students of the University of Benin 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 shutdown,” said the university’s spokesperson.

Proofreading by Fa’izatu Aliyu Doma, Journalist at Neptune Prime.

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