UNILAG students protest price hike by private business operators

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Students of the University of Lagos, on Monday staged a peaceful protest on campus over what they described as extortion by canteen operators and other service providers.

The students, many of who reside on campus, protested the arbitrary increase in the prices of items sold on campus by various business owners.

The students complained that the business owners were not considering their plight and the environment in which they were operating.

One of the protesting students, Elijah Omoboriowo, a third year student of the Finance Department of the Faculty of Business Administration, said that the attitude of the operators was becoming uncontrollable.

Omoboriowo said that the business operators were no longer keeping to their agreement with the management of the institution and the continuous hike in the prices of items and services was becoming worrisome.

“I think it is high time the activities of these people were checked and they were called to order.

“We have kept quiet for too long and things are simply getting worse by the day, with no one doing anything about it.

“This is an academic environment for God’s sake, and they should understand that our resources as students are very limited.

“For them to be operating in the campus means that they must not sell or render services at the same cost as those outside,’’ he said.

He said that students were disturbed that operators of barbing saloons and Cyber cafes, among others, were charging high fees, which were no longer acceptable.

Another student, Miss Rebecca Akinkunle, a second year student of the Faculty of Arts, described the protest as a good development and hoped that it would change things for good on the campus.

She noted that she was aware of the high cost of things in the market generally, but that it should not be used as a platform to extort students.

According to her, the management should curb the excesses of the business operators on campus in the interest of peace, as the hike even affected food items and both sachet and bottled water.

“I think that this protest will change a lot of things for good on campus, because we are just students and are still depending on our parents and relations to pull through.

“However, I am glad that management had a meeting with the business operators and some of the student leaders and have promised to look into the situation and get it resolved as soon as possible,” she said.

One of the operators said that he hoped that the issue would be resolved in good time as they were merely operating based on the cost of things in the market.

“We are not just increasing prices as the students are alleging; rather, we sell according to the way we bought from the source.

“We quite understand that we are operating in an academic environment, but you will not expect us to incur losses when we sell,” he said.

The operators, who were seen discussing in groups, had all their shops locked in compliance with demands of the protesting students.

 

 

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