By Abiodun Ali
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako has called on students of tertiary institutions to always shun violence in the course of making a genuine case bordering on their welfare. The Vice Chancellor gave this piece of advice while addressing some students of the University, who were calling on commercial operators to reduce transport fares to and from FUNAAB. The President, FUNAAB Student Union (FUNAABSU), Comrade Michael Oloyede had led a students’ protest against the 100 percent hike in fares of buses and taxis to and from Camp–FUNAAB and neighbouring communities.
At the peace meeting attended by the Vice Chancellor; Assistant Chief Environmental Officer, Mr. Peter Bolarinwa; representative of private transport operators; and student leaders, the matter was amicably resolved and agreements reached. The Vice Chancellor informed the stakeholders that transport operators and students are partners in progress, adding that they need each other for academic and economic progress. He called for peaceful resolution of the matter devoid of violence to enable the full take-off of academic activities on campus.
In a chat with FUNAAB Bulletin, Mr. Gbolahan Ekundayo, a cab operator in the Camp – University campus shuttle said the fare was increased from N50 to N100 on the route while N40 from N30 on the University gate to campus. He stated that the increases were necessitated by hike in prices of fuel and students’ absence from the University. He, however, confirmed that the issue had been resolved and a new price regime was now in place. Mr. Ekundayo said that from the new prices; Camp to campus by cab is N70, Camp to campus by bus is N50, Obantoko to campus by bus is N100 while University gate to campus is now N40.
On his part, Mr. Iseoluwa Owolabi, a bus operator corroborated Mr. Ekundayo’s claims, but added that the fare increase was borne out of the need to break-even by the operators. He said they would manage the prices negotiated by the student leaders because they see the students as their own children. Miss. Dorcas Ijeh, a 400-level student in the Department of Mathematics, College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS) said the students reasoned with the transport operators on the increase, but called for more understanding as the students were many, thereby leading to increased patronage. She supported the agreed prices, saying they were reasonable, considerate and fair to the parties, noting that the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) had affected prices of goods and services, globally.
Meanwhile, Mr. Akeem Salaudeen, a 500-level student in the Department of Water Resources and Agrometereology, College of Environmental Resources Management (COLERM) said the new price regime agreed upon by stakeholders was a welcome development, but noted that looking for ‘change’ of N10 for a N40 trip and N30 for a N70 trip may hinder smooth implementation of the agreement. Mr. Salaudeen advocated for the participation of more private transport operators on campus and the deployment of FUNAAB Bureau of Transportation (FUNAABOT) buses as part of measures to ease the transportation challenges