Moments after she was forced to address protesting students at the university main gate, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Professor Lilian Imuetiyan Salami, on Wednesday evening reached a peace agreement with the protesting students.
Professor Salami, it was gathered, agreed to rescind the decision on the imposition of N20,000 late registration fee on the students.
The Vice-Chancellor equally cancelled the directive for the “immediate” closure of the school, earlier issued in the day
She was also said to have agreed that no student would be punished or victimised for taking part in the protest, especially her “abduction” from her official lodge to the university’s main gate, where she agreed to the terms of the protesting students.
Before she was finally let off by the restive students, Professor Salami, also agreed to set in motion, plans to relieve the university’s Public Relations Officer, Dr Benedicta Ehanire and the Dean of Students Affairs, Professor Patrick Igbinaduwa, of their positions.
The students were said to have been irked by the “impudence” of Dr Ehanire, whenever she had cause to interface with the student’s population and the kind of languages she deployed in her communications with the students.
Professor Igbinaduwa’s “sin”, a student source said, ” is his nonchalant attitude to the issues that led to the protest in the first place”.
The students first took to the streets, blocking the two campuses of the university at Ekenwan Road and Ugbowo, on Tuesday, in protest against the N20,000 hike in their school fee by the management.
When the protest continued on Wednesday, the management, through Ehanire, issued a statement announcing the immediate closure of the university on the grounds of insecurity and suspicion that the protest might be highjacked.
The decision infuriated the students, who marched to the Vice Chancellor’s lodged, “abducted” her and forced her to trek almost to the main gate.
Sensing that the situation might degenerate, with the students remaining adamant, Professor Salami immediately agreed to the demands of the students and she was allowed to return to her official residence.