By Mbadiwe Okwor
Nsukka, The accommodation problem at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, may not be new but the dimension it has taken is alarming due to decay of infrastructure.
Stakeholders in the area believe that it is now easier to gain admission to the school than to get a room on campus. Particularly for the male students, it is indeed herculean.
In spite of a plethora of buildings designated as hostels on the campus, probably less than half of the students population is accommodated in them.
The situation has given rise to hundreds of lodges around the campus in places like Hill Top, Onuiyi and Obukpa. The student population at Hill Top makes a mockery of the on campus accommodation.
Investigations by South East Voice reveal that a huge percentage of the buildings meant to accommodate students are either completely abandoned or are undergoing very slow rehabilitation.
The Zik’a Flats at Onuiyi, which used to accommodate first-year students, have been abandoned with cracked walls and grasses growing on the windows. Students who reside in the flats are said to be doing so at their own risks. The whole of Franco Hostel complex is in dilapidated condition with blown off roofs and cracked walls.
Similarly, the three-storey Eni-Njoku Hall which was a beauty to behold in the early 80s when it was completed, has had part of its roof blown off but the students are still residing even on the top floor of all three wings.
The Kwame Nkrumah Post Graduate Hostel built by the university in the 80s is not left out as two wings have been undergoing rehabilitation for years without progress. The scaffolding for the rehabilitation is still in place but no workers are in sight.
Also, the rehabilitation of the burnt Okeke Hall is nearing completion but work is at a slow pace.
Property developers and land owners are smiling to the banks as parents are made to cough out huge sums starting from N45,000 to N150,000 per session for off-campus accommodation. The nearby Hill Top is the biggest beneficiary as big-time developers have taken the centre stage in the area, sending land costs to the roof tops.
As students prepare to return to campus after the long vacation, there is anxiety as to who will and who will not be accommodated on campus. The female students are favoured for gender reasons.
Although the Public Relations Officer of the UNN, Chief Okwum, declined comments on the issue, it was gathered that accommodation is allocated on first-come basis through an online platform.
The university’s website indicates that 40 per cent of available accommodation spaces is given to first-year students while final-year students are allocated another 30 per cent. The remaining 30 per cent is shared to other returning students.