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How Rotten facilities, overpopulation worsen students’ woes in Federal Universities

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The worsening rot in federal universities is taking a toll on the hostels in the national ivory towers. Besides being overcrowded, many of the hostels lack basic amenities.

In this research carried out by PUNCH, it was gathered that despite the poor conditions of the hostels, students still thronged them because of the rising rent in most university towns in Nigeria.

Findings indicated that the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which was founded in 1975, had 22 hostels. While some of the hostels take only male undergraduates, others accommodate only female students.

For the NDDC hostels, female students occupied the top floor, while their male counterparts took over the ground floor.

The university’s spokesman, Dr William Wodi, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the newest of the hostels was the medical hostel built in 2018. According to him, the institution has a total student population of 35,000

In s some of the hostels, a room meant for four students, based on the university’s rules, had more than 12 occupants.

It was gathered that the situation was worsened by the fear of insecurity and high rent in the university’s neighbourhood, which had forced many students to move to the campus.

Findings revealed that a self-contained apartment in Choba community, where the university is located, goes for between N100, 000 and N120,000 per year, while a bed space in the university is N22,500.

This, it was learnt, had made many students, who could not secure bed spaces in the hostels, to squat with their friends, who had hostel accommodation.

Cult wars in Rivers force students relocate to varsity hostels

A student at the Mandela Hostel said some of his colleagues living outside the university had secretly moved in to squat with friends living on the campus without the knowledge of the university authorities.

The student, who simply gave his name as Mark, attributed the development to the security situation outside the campus, adding that most students loathed staying off-campus in order to avoid being hit by bullets during the routine deadly cult wars.

It was observed that the environment was dirty as students used the hostel galleries as refuse dumps, which helped to fuel the foul odour in the entire place.

Fear of building collapse in UNIPORT

One of the private security men in the school, Tony Samuel, expressed the fear that the situation could cause building collapse if nothing urgent was done.

On the situation at the NDDC hostels, UNIPORT spokesman, Dr William Wodi, admitted that the buildings had a structural defect, adding that NDDC, the agency responsible for the construction of the facility, had promised to address the problem.

He agreed that some of the students, staying off-campus, had come into the campus to squat with the original owners of the rooms because of insecurity outside the university environment.

Wodi added that the development had led to overpopulation in the hostels, which had continued to pile pressure on the facilities.

16 students cram into UNICAL hostel room

Also, at the University of Calabar, The PUNCH correspondent noticed the hostels, called Hall 4 and Hall 5, were in dire need of not only a coat of paint, but total clean-up due to the dirty state of the facilities.

Without water in the hostels when one of our correspondents visited the institution last week, the public conveniences were so dirty that the white marble in the bathrooms had turned green.

The correspondent observed that students had to fetch water whenever they attempted to use the dirty toilet.

Findings revealed that some students would not bother to fetch water to clean the conveniences because of the stress involved.

In addition to these problems, the rooms are overcrowded. It was learnt that a room, which is supposed to accommodate four students, had as many as eight or even 16 students due to lack of accommodation in the school.

Investigations revealed that each student paid N16, 000 for a bed space in a room per session.

A 300 level student, who spoke with one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said, “The challenges we are facing in Hall 5 are many.  Some structures are damaged. There are spaces through which someone could come in and leave without the security personnel noticing. We don’t have water. Some students don’t flush when they use the toilet. They leave it for the rest to suffer.

“We still have the issue of the fee for hostel accommodation. Two years ago, we paid N8,000, but now, it has doubled to around N16,000.”

The President of the Students’ Union Government in the university, Raymond Moses, said, “I won’t be telling you that I am very comfortable with the state of things neither will I be saying that the management is not doing anything about them. There has been an increase in hostel accommodation fee because they want to effect changes.”

The university’s spokesman, Mr Effiong Eyo, said he would forward the questions sent by The PUNCH to the Dean of Students Affairs.

Eyo, later in his response, said, “As promised, I got to see the Dean of Students Affairs, Prof Enang Udah, over the issues raised by you.”

He stated that the dean said the administration of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Zana Akpagu, had started confronting the challenges.

“The maintenance, according to the dean, is in progress. He added that it had been completed in Halls 6, 8 and 9. Work on Halls 4 and 5 will commence soon,” Eyo stated.

UNN male hostels dilapidated

At the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, hostels, especially those for males, are dilapidated.

One of our correspondents, who visited the Enugu Campus of the UNN last Monday, described Kenneth Dike and Mbonu Ojike hostels for the male students as filthy and uninhabitable.

It was observed that virtually all the windows were broken while most of them were covered with curtains.

The hostels, which are located at the end of the administrative and lecture blocks, are surrounded by bushes while the forecourt of the two hostels is water lodged.

It was observed that the paint on the buildings had faded, the walls cracked and the windows as well as sliding doors were half eaten by termites.

A few students, who spoke to The PUNCH, decried the varsity’s insufficient hostel accommodation.

A student, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a one-bedroom flat outside the campus cost at least N250, 000, which had forced many students to seek accommodation on campus, making the hostels overpopulated.

A law student, Eke Ifeanyichukwu, said that the two hostels, which had  had about  2,000 bed spaces, “now house about 5,000 students.”

At the Nsukka campus, a student, who didn’t want his name mentioned, described the toilets and bathrooms at the male hostels as disease-infested.

“Between eight and 20 students stay in one room because they cannot afford accommodation off-campus because of the Shylock Nsukka landlords. At the Nsukka campus, students go to the bushes to defecate because they can use the toilets where they can contract diseases,” one of the students said.

Also, a Medical Radiography student, Chinasa, who said female hostels were nice, complained about lack of water.

She stated, “In the university, we buy water. A gallon of 20 litres (of water) is N70.  There is never a day you will not buy water. We accommodate our colleagues because accommodation is quite expensive in Enugu.”

However, the Student Union President, Tochukwu Onah, declined comment on the state of the hostels.

Also, the university’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Okwun Omeaku, said he could not talk as he was attending an important event in the school.

“I am in an inaugural lecture; please let’s talk later,” Omeaku stated.

As of the time of filing this report, Omeaku had yet to call back or responded to inquiries sent to him.

Danfodiyo varsity hostel common rooms converted to rooms

In many rooms at the Jibril Aminu Hostel at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, the common rooms, meant for relaxation, have been converted to dwelling rooms due to a shortage of bed spaces.

It was gathered that each room in the hostel, originally meant for eight occupants at the rate of N7,090.00 per bed space, usually accommodated between 10 and 12 students.

A 300 Level law student, Gobir Habeeb, in an interview with The PUNCH,  said, “Bathrooms and toilets in the UDUS Hostel are not adequate.  Apart from the odour that usually comes from there, the doors and windows are also damaged, leaving students to have their bath without doors to cover their privacy.”

Theft because of errand boys’ access

Also, some students lamented that errand boys and girls as well as hawkers had unfettered access to the hostels. This, they said, encouraged criminality and theft of students’ property.

But the UDUS Students’ Union President,  Faruk Barade,  described the situation of the hostels as “conducive” for the students.

Barade denied any knowledge of overcrowded rooms in the hostel, stating that the union would make the common rooms conducive for students.

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