Tests: Parents of Babcock University students allege extortion

Parents and guardians of students of Babcock University have described as extortion, the N25, 000 per student fee the school is demanding for Covid-19 test before resumption.

They queried the motive behind the test and the capacity of the school to carry out Covid-19 tests on the over 10,000 undergraduates of the university, alleging that the school will realise over N250million from parents.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to intervene and come out with a clear guideline regarding Covid-19 and school resumption before other universities copy what Babcock is doing,” said Engineer Silas Osuji, a parent of two students at the Babcock University.

In a letter sent to parents and guardians on Friday, September 15 and posted on its website, the management of the university, domiciled at Illisan–Remo, Ogun State, directed parents and guardians to pay N25, 000 per student before they could be allowed to resume on September 21st.

The letter signed by Dr. Folorunso Akande, Vice President, Financial Administrative Bursar of the University, stated that students who were expected to come in on Sunday, September 20, ahead of resumptions on Monday 21, would not be allowed in except they present the teller for the compulsory Covid-19 test payment.

However, parents are saying that such payment will not detect the virus or stop the spread of the virus because students would have entered the campus even before the result of the test is released.

“So what then is behind the motive of collecting N25, 000 from parents? A student presents his teller, and is allowed into the campus without knowing his Covid-19 status. If it is a student with Covid-19, he will spread it amongst other students before the test result is out. So, what does the school want to achieve if not to make money,” said Mrs. Silas Illo, who has a daughter in the university.

Mrs. Esther Effiong also said: “I was laid off from my place of work two months ago. Since then, I have been struggling to make ends meet. The students are going to spend only 6 weeks in school and the school authorities are insisting we still pay the full money and now they are talking of another N25,000. Honestly I never expected this from a Christian school.”

For Dr. Foluso Adebayo,  “In this country, people always take undue advantage of every situation. This looks like a scam and the government should quickly come in before other schools see Covid-19 as an avenue to make quick money”.

Defending the School’s action however, the Director of Marketing and Communication of the university, Dr. Joshua Suleiman, confirmed that it asked students resuming for the first semester of the 2020/2021 academic session to pay N25,000 for a COVID-19 test.

Reacting to the allegations from the parents, he said “We have the capacity in terms of certified human and materials resources, infrastructure and efficient structures to screen for COVID-19 for credible results. Our returning students are arriving on campus in phases. The first batch will arrive on 20/21st of September. These are students in 400L, 500L and 600L. The second batch will arrive on 25th. These are students in 200L and 300L”.

Debunking claims that the School may not be able to control the spread of Covid-19, Suleiman said Covid-19 result takes about 24 hours to mature, and until the result is out, a student remains in a separate room.

Investigations reveal that a normal COVID-19 test costs between N40, 000-N50,000, however, the government has been providing this service free to encourage people.The Nation

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