Undergraduates lament poor living conditions in varsities, polytechnics



  • Many of us have toilet diseases – female students

There are indications that, owing to neglect, students living in many Nigerian university and polytechnic hostels are exposed to various forms of life-threatening diseases.

Investigations by The Point revealed that many female students were already wracked by different diseases such as toilet infections and skin irritation, all arising from lack of water and break-down of toilet facilities in many of the hostels.

female studen toilet1A survey, by our correspondent, of hostels in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State; Osun State University, Osun State; Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State; Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra State; Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos State; and Olabisi Onabanjo University, AgoIwoye, Ogun State, reveals that they are all in a parlous state.

Though some, owned by the government, are undergoing renovation, most of the hostels owned by private individuals and organisations are hardly attended to.

A student of Business Administration at the Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna State, Miss Deborah Chukwuemeke, spoke on the situation of infrastructure in the female hostels.

She said the students were, on a daily basis, assailed by the stench from their pit toilets and the stagnant water in their bathrooms.

She lamented, “The toilets in our female hostels are not water closets. It is in form of the normal pit latrine whereby you squat over the toilet because it is low and you are exposed to bacteria. Most of us have had several toilet infections and vaginal bacteria because the toilets are not sufficient and many people share just the few toilets available.

“The ratio is six toilets on a floor to more than 48 legal-room occupants. Water does not flow in the toilets; you will be the one to flush it with a bucket of water. The maintenance of the toilets is very bad.”

Chukwuemeke added that the bathrooms were always flooded with stagnant bathing water.

“Any student, who doesn’t want to bathe in the stagnant water must wake up very early to have her bath before other students get up” she said, adding that “the doors of the bathroom are also damaged.”

A third year student of the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra State, also stressed, “The toilets, bathrooms and kitchen are in a messy state, although they are under renovation. We cook in our rooms, which has been the usual routine since I have been in the university.”

At the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Isaac Omole lamented over the general infrastructure of the hostels. According to him, the net of the windows are completely torn, which allows mosquitoes into the rooms; the water closet toilets are broken
without repair while some have wall tiles that are broken, tattered and removed. Besides, he said the lead of the water system was broken and had been removed, while the cover of the water closet was missing. “So everywhere is stinking,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Miss Deborah Raphael asserted that “the passage of Bakassi Hostel is choked; that is, there is no available space for students to spread their clothes outside; the laundry arena is very dirty and the provision of water is always slow and sometimes, unavailable.

“The toilets’ tiles are also broken, thereby appearing shattered and dirty in its small choked available space, which causes threats to the health of students; and above all, there isn’t regular power supply.”

After several protests by the students’ union and affected staff unions, the hostels in the University of Lagos, for instance, are now undergoing some renovations, especially in the male hostels.

According to Mr. Afolabi Orolade, “the state of the male hostels was bad but the management had to wait for the session to end before the commencement of the renovations.”

In an interview with The Point, the Students Union President, University of Lagos, Mr.Abiodun Martins, said, “Old hostels such as the Sodeinde Hall and Moremi Hall are undergoing massive renovation. There are no levies charged, there are absolutely none. We pay N10,500 as school fee, N5, 000 for a comprehensive health insurance plan and N25, 000 for accommodation in all halls of residence.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Association of Staff Union of Universities, UNILAG chapter, Dr.Adelaja Odukoya, argued that the institution was awarded N7 million after a recent fight for rights as demanded by the association.

“It is a special allocation based on the struggle of ASUU. It is not a budgetary matter; it is a special intervention fund to revitalise the university system because it is in serious decay. And that’s why renovations are in progress in the hotels,” he said.

For some institutions without hostels, the students are forced to rent exorbitant private hostels outside the campus. But what becomes of the indigent scholars who are not financially capable? They opt for squatting or moving from one place to another.

Owing to the lack of university hostels, it was discovered that most of the private hostels around and outside some universities’ premises were built by the lecturers of the institution.

The students, however, lamented that the costs of hiring them were unbearable for poor students.