By Yinka Komolafe
The Federal Government has launched a private-public partnership scheme to develop affordable and decent accommodation for the rising number of university students in the country, with the inauguration of a committee on University Hostels Build, Operate and Transfer Projects
Minister of State for Works, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Grace Ekpiwhre, charged members of the committee to seriously pursue the objective of the PPP model, noting that the tremendous growth experienced by Nigerian universities in the last two decades in students population without a corresponding increase in bed spaces had resulted in acute shortage of rooms in halls of residence, thereby over-stretching the capacity of the existing structures.
She urged the committee to evolve a cost effective, efficient and viable mechanism that will ensure facilitation of collaboration between the government, private sector and universities in the provision of hostel accommodation. The committee is also to see to the establishment of guidelines for execution and management of the hostels and creating an enabling environment for operation of the scheme without direct financial involvement of the government.
Ekpiwhre, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Tukur Bello Ingawa,Â noted that the remote location of some universities in areas with inadequate transportation system made it difficult for students to live off-campus.
She observed that the tremendous growth experienced by universities in the last two decades in studentâ€™s population, without a corresponding increase in bed spaces had resulted in acute shortage of rooms in halls of residence, thereby over-stretching the capacity of the existing structures they were originally meant to contend with.
The minister further noted that the stress occasioned by poor on and off campus hostel accommodation, contributed to the depression in the quality of learning and encouraged anti-social behaviour among students.
She emphasized that it was in recognition of this problem that the Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Urban Development constituted the committee with relevant core professionals drawn from the Ministry and other agencies
The committee members include the Director, Building Quantities and Engineering Services in the Federal Ministry of Works, Housing and Urban Development, Ali Bukar Fatoma, and Obi Nwandu, standing in for the Committee Chairman, Salma Mohammed.