Ef­fects of stu­dents’ co­hab­it­ing in ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions

Daily Trust - - EDUCATION - From Joy Moses Hadari

Co­hab­i­ta­tion is a phe­nom­e­non per­vad­ing most, if not all, of the ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions in Nigeria to­day. The prac­tice is so rife to the point that it has be­come a usual way of cam­pus life. Co­hab­i­ta­tion is gen­er­ally seen as an act of a man and woman liv­ing to­gether and some­times hav­ing mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ships with­out be­ing mar­ried. Those in­volved see noth­ing wrong with it. A cur­sory look at our var­i­ous cam­puses to­day shows that a large num­ber of un­mar­ried stu­dents in­dulge in this act.

This kind of re­la­tion­ships come in var­i­ous guises and aliases such as cam­pus mar­riages, mar­ry­ing for mar­riage, cam­pus cou­pling etc. ob­vi­ously de­signed to give this un­whole­some act an ac­cept­able nomen­cla­ture. This grow­ing trend is grad­u­ally erod­ing the level of moral­ity among youths in Nige­rian ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions.

So many rea­sons have been ad­duced for co­hab­it­ing in our in­sti­tu­tions of learn­ing. In one ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion in North­ern Nigeria, a stu­dent re­sponded that, “We live to­gether so that we can know each other bet­ter...but it def­i­nitely af­fects my stud­ies. An­other stu­dent said, “Due to lack of ac­com­mo­da­tion, I have to live with my guy and I don’t see any­thing wrong in it.”

While some co­hab­it­ing stu­dents find it dif­fi­cult to live apart be­cause of fi­nan­cial or aca­demic de­pen­dency, the strong phys­i­cal in­ti­macy be­tween them makes them think sex is love. They see sex as an end not a means to love. In­stead of sex­ual act be­ing a life given act of mu­tual love, it has be­come an ob­ject of abuse. The fun­ni­est and laugh­able part is to hear that those stu­dents who in­dulge in this act do so to find out if they are com­pat­i­ble for mar­riage or not.

What are the dan­gers in co­hab­it­ing? First, high rate of abor­tion in ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions can be at­trib­uted to co­hab­i­ta­tion. These stu­dents are not ready for par­ent­ing; thus must do any­thing within their power not to keep preg­nan­cies when they oc­cur. How­ever, it should be men­tioned that abor­tion ex­poses the fe­male part­ners to the risk of death or dam­aged uterus. Sec­ond is the threat of sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­eases. It is com­mon place to find both co­hab­i­tants bat­tling with one sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­ease or the other. Third, those in­volved tend to in­dulge in vices in­clud­ing steal­ing, ly­ing and cy­ber-crimes etc. in or­der to raise fi­nances to keep the af­fairs go­ing. Fourth is mo­not­o­nous fond­ness. When this hap­pens, it leads to abuse and the pro­fessed love dis­ap­pears. Atimes, the fe­males are more of­ten than not abused and mo­lested by their part­ners or “would-be hus­band,” when they quar­rel leading to grave psy­cho­log­i­cal trauma that could af­fect their health and ed­u­ca­tion.

An­other im­por­tant is­sue to note is the fact that the fe­male stu­dents in­volved are like the par­a­sitic host upon which the males feed, hav­ing to per­form some do­mes­tic chores more even as stu­dent, cook­ing in am­ple quan­tity, wash­ing more clothes in­clud­ing that of their part­ners. These are time con­sum­ing ac­tiv­i­ties which give lit­tle or no time for stud­ies which is the pri­mary rea­son of be­ing in school af­ter all.

How­ever, this does not mean that the men or “hus­bands” do not have their own “du­ties” to per­form. A stu­dent in one univer­sity re­vealed that the men’s job in­clude to pro­vide the con­ducive aca­demic en­vi­ron­ment where the girl taps from. For ex­am­ple, if both stu­dents are in the same depart­ment, the in­tel­lec­tual ef­fort geared to­wards the aca­demic growth of the “cou­ple” is mostly the task of the man whether he is ca­ble or not.

Most of the stu­dents who co­habit find it dif­fi­cult to grad­u­ate, and they make lower grades be­cause there isn’t enough time to read. Ma­jor­ity of­ten with­draw from school, while some spend longer time than nec­es­sary as a re­sult of car­ry­overs.

Re­la­tion­ships that were formed in school had some­times led to mar­riages but that of co­hab­i­ta­tion rarely does. This is be­cause the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion will not and has not per­mit­ted most men to marry im­me­di­ately af­ter grad­u­a­tion. There­fore, the NYSC pe­riod will pro­vide a vac­uum that will oblit­er­ate cam­pus life. Friend­ship and so­cial net­work­ing is part and par­cel of stu­dents’ lives. How­ever, the ex­tent to how that is done mat­ters.

In view of this, par­ents, more than the school au­thor­i­ties, have plenty work to do. Schools have lit­tle or no author­ity to ex­ert on stu­dents be­cause this can­not be hap­pen­ing in the hos­tels. Par­ents, who toil to see their wards through school should, as mat­ter of ur­gency, form the habit of pay­ing un­sched­uled vis­its to them in or­der to as­cer­tain what they are up to. If stu­dents know that their par­ents could visit with­out no­tice, the ex­tent to what they do will be cur­tailed.

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