By Dayo Adesulu, Gbenga Olarinoye, Demola Akinyemi, Femi Bolaji and Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
Buildings, classrooms, hostel accommodations, laboratories, water, power, roads and transportation are crucial elements of learning environments in schools.
There is strong evidence that high quality infrastructure facilitates better instruction, improves students learning, and reduces drop-out rates, among other benefits.
Vanguard’s recent study of many of our public tertiary institutions as published in our last edition and this report have shown that many of the schools are lacking in basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of its learning community.
The infrastructure on these campuses, such as hostel accommodations, roads, transportation, water, power and sewage treatment plants are either decay or not in existent.
Situational reports from these institutions of higher learning revealed that students from affected schools groan under these infrastructure deficits. While some universities are trying to do something near quality infrastructure, many seem not to care about it.
Institutions under consideration today include: Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State University, Jalingo and Kwarafa University, all in Taraba.
Others are University of Ilorin, University of Benin, Ambrose Alli University, Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Obafemi Awolowo University and Osun State University.
A common thread of insufficient hostel accommodation runs through the three major public tertiary institutions in Edo State.
From the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, to Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma and the University of Benin, Benin City, our findings show infrastructure deficits, such that private hostel developers have become the alternative for decent accommodation in the institutions.
The over population also takes its toll on facilities like toilets, bathrooms, water supply, light and others.
At Auchi polytechnic, a room in the hostel is officially meant for three persons; a single bunk for final year students and then double bunker. But in most cases, you have minimum of five students in one room and in some instances, the single bunkers are replaced with double bunkers by the students to make room for more eight students.
Some of the students who spoke with Vanguard expressed their disappointment in the poor state of hostel facilities in the Institution and called on the federal government to do the needful.
Many of the students decried the lack of sanitation and dilapidated state of the hostel toilets. A situation they described as threat to their lives.
Deborah, a female student in the female hostel said: “The major challenge in my hostel is lack of fans, adding that the toilets are bad. Also, the cleaners don’t take their job seriously. Because of this development, rodents and reptiles such as snakes now make the hostel their abode.”
Similarly, a Banking and Finance ND II student at Auchi Polytechnic, Momoh said that his hostel lacks maintenance, stressing that many of the facilities are outdated and need urgent repairs. He said: “The hostels need to be fumigated because for the past three weeks now, snakes and other reptiles have taken over the hostes. We are calling on the management to fumigate this place.”
Dean of Student Affairs reacts
In his reaction, the Dean of Student Affairs of the Polytechnic, Dr. Sola Oshionebo debunked the claims, adding that the school has the necessary facilities to cater for the needs of the students.
“Though the hostel is taking much resources to maintain, management don’t play with its maintenance,” he said.
Moreover, at Ambrose Alli University, AAU, Ekpoma, our investigation shows that the most viable hostels are Igbinedion hostel which was demarcated to accommodate both male and female students and Kudirat hostel named after wife of late MKO Abiola which is an all female hostel.
Besides, other hostels are like classrooms demarcated into rooms for students.
A students who volunteered to talk said; “Only two hostels; Igbinedion and Kudirat Hostels are spacious, others are mostly overcrowded.
“The only fair place for the boys hostel is part of Igbinedion hostel meant for male.
Areas like Uhumudumu, Ujoelen, Emado, Eguare have become thriving areas for private hostel developers.’’
At the Ugbowo Campus of the University of Benin the management with support from individuals and intervention agencies like NDDC have complemented hostels at the Ugbowo campus of the University but even at that, it is still not enough.
The school’s policy of compulsory accommodation for 100 level students was a challenge in the current session as some of them could not get accommodation.
A law student simply called Blessing said: “We also have the challenge of power because sometimes, they would not put on the light, and once there is no light, there will not be water especially Sundays.”
Taraba State which boasts of three universities, namely Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State University, Jalingo and Kwararafa University have shortages of hostel accommodations.
It was gathered that hostel accommodations at the Federal University, Wukari are grossly inadequate. Three blocks of two storey building are allocated for the females while the male students have one. The development has resorted to students renting apartments outside the school campus. However, the school is said to have built two new blocks of hostels, which according to findings are yet to be allocated for students usage.
On the other hand, at Taraba State University, it was gathered that the hostel accommodations are conducive, but inadequate.
At University of Ilorin, except the ongoing private hostels for students under construction by private investors, there were no abandoned project(s)by the federal government in the University of Ilorin when Vanguard visited.
Contacted,the Director of Information of the university Alhaji Kunle Akogun said there is no abandoned projects in the institution since about two decades ago.
He said:”If your organisation doesn’t believe, let them send independent investigator here and the truth would be reaffirmed that we don’t have any federal government project abandoned here”
Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU has renovated its hostel accommodations.
Prior to the renovation carried out by the management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife on the campus hostels in the early 2018, the hitherto overcrowded halls of residence were in parlous and dirty state as the health of over 11,000 residents was grossly threatened on daily basis.
Before the facelift that were given to the over 50 year old halls of residence, one would be worried at the level of rots and dirtiness that reigned on the campus hostels. Over populated rooms, especially in male hostels, dirty toilets and bathrooms, broken louvres, damaged septic, stinking gutters, abandoned rooms, tattered ceilings along other dilapidated structures characterized the hostels.
Ruth Okere, a 400-level student of English Language, however urged the management of the institution to embark on repair of damaged doors, ceiling and louvers and facilitate the supply of water to occupants staying on top floors to reduce the stress they pass through in getting water downstairs.
Meanwhile, the concept of Osun State University, UNIOSUN is non residential for all its students scattered in all the six campuses of Osogbo, Okuku, Ipetu-Ijesa, Ifetedo, Ikire and Ejigbo.