UNIBEN stops academic activities indefinitely amid student protests


The University of Benin (UNIBEN) has announced an indefinite suspension of academic activities following intense student protests over prolonged power outages and increased transportation costs.

The decision was disclosed in a statement by the university’s Public Relations Officer, Dr. Benedicta Ehanire, citing the students’ refusal to compromise on their demands.

The protests, which began on Wednesday, saw students taking to the streets and blocking the busy Benin-Ore Highway.

The students, facing weeks of power outages on campus, argued that the lack of electricity was severely hampering their preparation for upcoming first-semester examinations scheduled in two weeks.

Additionally, students demanded a reduction in the transport fares of the UNIBEN shuttle service, which saw a hike starting from July 1.

The ongoing power crisis was attributed to a standoff between the university and the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) over contentious electricity billings.

The monthly bill reportedly surged from approximately N80 million to between N200 million and N280 million, forcing the university to rely on power generators and ration electricity across its campuses and hostels.

Despite heavy rainfall, the protesting students remained resolute, vowing to continue their demonstrations until their demands were met.

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One student remarked, “We cannot study or live under these conditions. We need a permanent solution, not temporary fixes.”

In response, the university’s statement emphasized that the students’ demand for continuous 24-hour electricity was deemed unrealistic by the university’s Senate.

“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,” Ehanire stated.

Students have been instructed to vacate the hostels immediately, while non-teaching staff and those on essential duties are not affected by the shutdown.

The university’s closure notice has been widely disseminated to ensure compliance.

The situation remains tense as the university community awaits further developments and potential resolutions to the ongoing crisis.

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