Students Decry Paying N50 to Safeguard Their Bags in NOUN

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Barely a week after the start of the first semester examinations in the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), the students in the Minna Study Center have decried having to pay to safeguard their bags when they write examination.

The students also lamented over the attitude of some of the staff in the study center who have made it a point of duty to exploit the students in order to safeguard their bags.
The Nation learnt that for each session, examinations are written three times daily, the students are asked to pay N50 to leave their bags in the open hall.
Complaining bitterly, a student who brought the attention of The Nation to the situation, Georgina Paul said it has not been the trend before adding that the staff do not hide the fact that one have to pay.
“They know you cannot go to the examination halls with your bag and they ask you to pay. When I first started writing exams this semester, I was not told, when I came to pick my bag, one of the lady invigilators said I will have to pay N50.
“I protested and it turned to insult. They claimed they were doing is a favor. Why can’t they leave us to keep our bags at our own risks, we have been doing so, what changed.
“Imagine thinking of what to write in examination and I will think of how to pay N50. I will also transport myself to this center. Why can’t they employ security to look over the bags? Are they even supposed to be looking after our bags or invigilating?”
Curious over this allegation, The Nation paid a visit to the Minna Study Center to ascertain and when the Reporter got there, she met two staff quarreling a lady over the payment of N50.
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“Do you think we are begging you for the money? We are doing you a favor. Madam, you have to pay the money o! Because others have been paying”, a staff learnt to be called Zainab said.
Another staff identified as Halima said, “What is N50? Is that what you think we use to eat? It is a law that has been set here and you must abide by it.”
“I will not say, do your worse. Why did you not write it and post it on the notice board if it is legal? I have said for my examination and you do not even have the power to stop me from writing it”, the student who have her name as Helen retorted.
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When The Nation inquired what the N50 was used for and why it was being demanded, she was told that it was to safeguard their bags and phones.
A male staff who spoke but did not give his name explained that during last semester examinations, students belongings were stolen and it was decided that a staff will watch over the bags while examinations are being written and the students will pay N50 as a sign of appreciate for watching over their bags and phones.
“We are not asking for much, we know of other Study centers where they demand for more. Like in Obalende center, to park your car, you will have to pay N1, 000, do what they are making noise over N50. We did not ask for much”, he claimed.
Most of the students frowned over the manner students who refuse to pay the money are being treated.
Yusuf Abdullahi, another student said, “if you refuse to pay, the staff will frustrate your life. They will pick on you during the examinations, looking over your shoulders, changing your seats and doing other frustrating things. You will know it is because you did not pay the N50. They had no business with me before but on Monday, I refused to pay and since then, I have not had peace in writing my examination.”
Hadiza Kagara said, “On Wednesday I had two papers, 8 am and 2 pm, I had to pay for my bags those two times. It is not fair.”
Efforts to see the Director to ascertain if he was aware of the N50 bag-keeping fee  was not possible as he was not to be on seat when the Reporter checked the office.
The Nation also noticed that there was no security in the open hall, the only security in the Center was a Civil Defence officer who was at the gate.
SOURCE:
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