UNILAG hostels infested with bed bugs
Thousands of students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) who opted to stay on campus for convenience and academic opportunities are now facing some dermatological challenges because their hostels recently got infested with bed bugs.
Daily Trust correspondent, who was at the university, observed that apart from bed bug infestation, the existing hostels were in need of repairs.
An obviously-exhausted Kayode Thomas (not real name) wobbled as he climbed the staircases to his room on the second floor of Mariere Hall of Residence. While in the room, he removed his trousers and shirt, pulled out a clothstriped mattress, placed it on to the floor before lying on it.
“After grueling eight-hour lectures, you don’t expect me to sleep in that bedbuginfested and rickety bunk,” Thomas said.
The room which was meant to accommodate two students now accommodates just one. Thomas’ roommate whose parents live somewhere in Mushin, Lagos, had since abandoned the hostel three weeks earlier.
According to Thomas, the complaint of his roommate was that he could no longer cope with the many health and environmental hazards he was being exposed to, especially with the menace of bedbugs which had been somewhat chronic. On the other hand, Thomas has no relative in Lagos he can run to. His parents live in Akure, Ondo State and the 22-year old had resolved to bear the brunt till the end of semester in a couple of days.
“We will soon write our exams. I can’t afford to leave at this stage. Even if I do, there is no money to secure a better accommodation outside the campus. So, I chose to bear the brunt for now while I take solace in insecticide which I use at regular intervals to kill and/or weaken the bedbugs,” Thomas said.
are many sections of Mariere Hall vicinity that have become eyesore. Apart from the rooms which the students themselves have made uninhabitable through poor hygienic culture, the pavements, balconies, staircases and hostel walls reek of dirt. The laundry section is not in any way better as water leak out uncontrollably from the two plastic tanks serving as reservoirs. Many of the toilets were not in better condition either.
The poor state of the hostel facilities interestingly provides “quick money” to some who engage in brisk businesses. In many strategic sections of the hostel, there are signposts directing students to call a specific phone number or add a blackberry pin. The initiator deals in the production of “sniper”, a popular insecticide often used in stop-gap room fumigation.
“Our beds are bedbug corrosive. And I can say this is just a way of victimizing us. Since I secured admission to the school four years ago, the management has not changed the mattresses. So when they came up with the promise after our protest that they will supply us new mattresses and fix dilapidated sections of the hostels, some of us took their words with a pinch of salt,” a 300-level student who resides at Mariere Hall said.
Yet Mariere is not the only hostel with the sour tales. King Jaja Hall, regarded as one of the finest hostels because it is often reserved for the ‘best students,’ is not spared. Toilet facilities at Wing
section of the hall are
A depreciating even as students still make use of them, thereby allowing faeces and urine stench to fester.
Students living in Shodeinde Hall said they were facing safe water shortages and toilet facilities were poor.
“For five minute after turning on the tap to fetch water, all you will see is one oily fluid. By the time the real water begin to trickle out you are apparently convinced that the water is no longer useful for anything, anymore. The last time we had a new set of mattresses was during the National Sport Festival known as Eko 2012. Some sport facilities in UNILAG were used and that necessitated the Lagos State Government to bring in new mattresses,” Benson Ajila, a student in Shodeinde Hall said.
Such challenges were not different in Henry Njoku and El-kanemi Halls of residence which were also visited. Such agonizing experiences, the students claimed, had forced them to stage a peaceful protest few days ago. They said the protest had become their last resort as several attempts to resolve it amicably with the management failed.
But while responding to allegations made by the students, the university's Deputy Registrar on Information, Olagoke Oke, described the students’ protest as unwarranted, saying information at the disposal of management indicated that those who championed the protest were actually looking for a way to extend the date for the second semester examination.
"The protest is not in any way justified. We have found out from University of Lagos Students' Union (ULSU) and its executive had told us that they were not the ones behind the protest. We have found out that students who were behind the protest were just looking for a way to shift the forthcoming examination which is billed to commence in two weeks.
"On the allegation of bedbug infested hostels, there is no truth in that. The UNILAG management replaces hostel mattresses at the end of every session. After the exams, this session will close, and then students can be rest assured that new mattresses will be made available again," Oke said.
At a pre-convocation press briefing held at the University Senate Building in April this year, the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Abdurahman Bello, had said the institution is in dire need of additional 26,500 bed spaces.
"The university has been contending with serious shortage of accommodation for both its students and staff. We have a full time student population of about 35,000 while only 8,500 bed spaces are available. Efforts are being concentrated on expanding these. We are embarking on a 1,000 bed spaces hostel currently but this is a far cry from the need. We are however appealing to well-meaning Nigerians who can assist the university in having in place hostel accommodation for our students to kindly do so,” the VC said.