By Mbadiwe Okwor
Nsukka —The accommodation problem at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, may not be new but it has taken an alarming dimension due to neglect of building assets. Stakeholders in the area believe that it’s now easier to gain admission to the school than to get a room on campus. Particularly for the male students, it’s indeed herculean.In spite of a plethora of buildings designated as hostels on the campus, probably less than half of the student 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 campus accommodation. Investigations by South East Voice revealed that a huge percentage of the buildings meant to accommodate students are either completely abandoned or are undergoing very slow rehabilitation.
The Zik Flats at Onuiyi, which used to accommodate first-year students, have been abandoned with cracked walls and overgrown with weeds. Students who reside in the flats are said to be doing so at their own risk. The whole of Franco Hostel complex is dilapidated without 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 is now a shadow of itself as its roofing is partly blown off but students live in it and even on the top floor of the 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 gutted 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 ranging 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 invaded the area prising land out of reach. As students prepare to proceed on Christmas break, there is anxiety as to who will and who will not be accommodated on campus when they resume. Female students are favoured for gender reasons.
Although the Deputy Public Relations Officer,UNN, Mr Inya, declined comments on the issue, we 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 balance of 30 per cent is shared between other returning students.