The African Peoples Alliance (APA) has dragged Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) to court for allegedly imposing a N50, 000 development levy on students of the institution.
The state government is the second respondent in the suit No. HAGB/60M/ 2019 filed on Tuesday in the High Court, Agbani.
The political party through its counsel, Mr Chukwunonso Ogbe is suing for himself and on behalf of the undergraduates of ESUT.
Ogbe said that the suit was brought pursuant to the provisions of Article 17(1), and 22(2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act, CAP. A9, VOL. 1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
He also said that they relied on Order 2 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court to institute the case.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the applicants are seeking for a declaration that the enforcement of the N50, 000 levy amounted to violation of the right to education of the undergraduates.
We also want the court to declare that the refusal and or failure of the state government to shoulder the financial responsibility for the development of ESUT amount to the violation of the rights of the institution.
This rights violation is to the detriment of the undergraduate students,” he said.
The counsel requested the court to restrain the respondents from collecting the said levy as well as order the respondents to refund those who may have paid the levy.
In the event of the court granting the reliefs as sought, we seek an order of the court directing ESUT to make a publication in two national dailies that the students are not required to pay the levy,” he said.
The lawyer, who is the state chairman of APA, also prayed for an order of the court compelling the state government to shoulder the responsibility of developing the institution.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit filed before Justice R. N. Onuorah.
Reacting to the development, the Public Relation Officer of ESUT, Mr Ossy Ugwuoti, described the legal action as a `non issue’.
Ugwuoti explained that development levy had been an age long practice in the university adding that it was meant for fresh students and not old students.
Development levy is an age long practice in ESUT and not a new thing. It was meant for fresh students who are yet to take their matriculation oath.
It is part of requirements for admission and it is either you accept the admission or reject it. Development levy is paid once, at the point of entry into the school.
“Undergraduates do not pay development fee,’’ he said.
Edited by: Maureen Atuonwu