Published On: Mon, Jan 29th, 2018

UNN: Where human dignity is forsaken

By OBINNA EZUGWU

“To restore the dignity of man,” the age long motto of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka loudly proclaims. Without a doubt, it is a school that has restored the dignity of many a man; her products include some of the greatest achievers in various professional and political fields in the country and even beyond. It is a university where men are called “Lions” and women “Lionesses” and her graduates addressed as “Super Lions” and Super Lionesses.”

But that was before. Many things have changed for the worse in the university. Right at the home of these lions presently are rodents of many kinds, derelict buildings, heaps of dirt and men who daily risk an epidemic. Franco – the home of men in the university – is pile rubbish, a place where men are immediately stripped of any dignity they may have come with from home once they step in, and they begin to live the life of misery.

It is, for avoidance of harsher and more appropriate words, a place not good enough for men; any man at all, and certainly not those seeking the restoration of their dignity. At Franco, it immediately strikes you that the idea of restoring the dignity of men in a once prestigious institution has become a big irony. It has been so for many years!

During the golden days of the university, Franco was the place men lived with pride, and dignity. It was a refectory where students were entitled to three square meals a day. It was because of this Franco Refectory that the entire male hostel assumed the name Franco. Presently, the original Franco Refectory itself is a shadow of whatever it may have been in the past, and so are the entire male hostels.

At the entrance of Franco – which houses Mbanefo, Alvan Ikoku and Eni  Njoku hostels for male students, as well as Kwame Nkrumah and the more recently built Odili hostels for female and Post Graduate students respectively – you are first welcomed by a stench oozing from the gutter on both sides of the road.

They are perpetually flowing with some of the dirtiest liquids the eyes have ever seen… even in the middle of the dry season with its intense harmattan wind in Nsukka. Then, a pile of junk that you could guess may have accumulated for several months. It is an eyesore.

Each of the hostels has about 400 rooms; about 100 in each of the four series. Officially, a room is allotted to six students, but there are often squatters. Thus, in each, there are usually between 10 and 11 students.

Inside the hostels, the rooms are unkempt, the tables largely destroyed and convenience absolutely pitiable. It was originally designed in such a way that you squatted on top to defecate. It was meant to be flushed, but only a minute percentage of students did flush. The whole toilet was often littered with faeces, such that new visitors had to cover the already existing excretion with a spread of newspaper before unloading their own. It took little time for the newspaper to get filled up and there would be a need for a new one. At the end of the day, what you got was heaps of faeces separated into layers by newspapers, leaving the cleaners to swim in it every morning.  It was an exercise undertaken by the bravest. Those who were less endowed opted for “shot put”- the act of “pooing” into a nylon bag and tossing it into the bush. Yet, others went for what is known as bush attack; in fact most, people prefer visiting nearby bushes early morning and late evening.

Around 2010 however, there was a sign of hope, renovation commenced. The toilets were changed to the more modern water system. It was supposed to be a new beginning. But that new beginning only brought change in the toilet systems, not in the attitude of the students. Like old times, there was no flushing the toilets, and the entire environment soon returned to the original state.

When it comes to this practice of not flushing the toilets however, there is indeed enough blame to go round. You could say it is due to poor attitude of the students and you will be right. Indeed, it is unthinkable that university students would use toilets and fail to flush… this, it must be said, is not peculiar to UNN as anyone who passed through any Nigerian university can attest to. Yet, there is the point to be made about insufficient water supply.

In the entire Franco where there are thousands of students, only about four taps are available, one in each of the regular student’s hostels. As a result, students often had to queue up for several minutes and hours to fetch water in the morning. Those who have morning lectures often cannot afford such luxury of time.

Yet, on some occasions, the taps are out of water and the students would have to climb the two available reservoirs which of course soon gets exhausted and their fate would depend on tanker drivers who sometimes brought water to some of the few tanks. In summary, water is often a huge challenge and the blame for this can only go to the authorities.

But water is not the only challenge and things have gotten much worse. A few years ago, students had dirty environment – which really is partly their own making – insufficient water supply and inadequate hostel facilities such as good beds and cupboards to complain about. Now it is all that and more.

For the past several months, there has been no electricity supply in Franco; the electricity appliances were vandalised about two years ago, and ever since there has been little or no effort to fix it. The environment has become a lot dirtier, and worst of all, the buildings are falling apart.

Walking through Alvan Ikoku Hall, it is all too obvious that it is no longer suitable for human habitation. Walls show signs of cracks, pillars are breaking down and everywhere is oozing with foul smell. It is an old custom of students to throw water; all manner of dirty water from the corridors. It is in part, why the environment is dirty.

The Alvan situation is not peculiar to it. It is the same thing with Eni Njoku and to a lesser degree, Kwame Nkrumah. It is much worse with Mbanefo. For more than two years, the hostel has been abandoned; it is decaying in practical terms. About three years ago, students vacated the hostel, ostensibly for renovation work, but ever since, it has been under lock and key. No renovation work is going on and no sign that there would be any anytime soon.

It has been months without electricity; which also means fewer days of water availability, a few nights of power supply from generator and the students say life in the hostel has never been more difficult.

“The toilets are still very bad, people don’t flush; it’s a mess” said a student who gave his name as Chikezie. “For months now there hasn’t been power here. You can see everywhere is untidy.”

Asked whether he sometimes fear an outbreak of an epidemic, Chikezie noted: “Apparently, the danger is there. But there is the stress of lectures and exams to worry about.”

Efforts to get the Dean of Student Affairs Department, who is responsible providing accommodation for students, Prof Sabinus Ofoefula for comments did not yield positive result, but Mr. Attah Godwin, the man in charge of Alvan Hall as the supervisor attributed the state of affairs to lack of funds and neglect by previous authorities, and said the new Dean, Prof Ofoefula has been making serious efforts to change the situation.

“There is lack of funds,” he said. “Again, the previous deans neglected this area and paid more attention to the female hostel. But the new dean has been trying to see that male hostels are at least equal to female hostels.  With the new dean, there is already a change of attitude towards Franco.”

Female hostels which are located up school, a distance from the male hostels cannot be said to be very well managed either, but they are a lot better and if the new dean can bring the derelict Franco hostels to their levels, it would be a massive feat, but there is little sign that this will happen soon, or even later at the moment despite Mr. Attah’s claims.

© 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Shippers’ council targets cost reduction at ports

    The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) says it will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with shipping companies on reducing the cost of doing business at ports to 35 per cent. The NSC Executive Secretary, Mr Hassan Bello, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja. He spoke on […]

  • For the records: President Buhari’s address at the 73rd UN General Assembly (Full speech)

    STATEMENT DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 73RD SESSION OF UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN NEW YORK, 25TH SEPTEMBER, 2018. Madam President, Fellow Heads of State and Government, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the Government and people of […]

  • ELAN’s National Lease Conference Focuses on Stimulating Valuable Investments for Sustainable Growth

    In furtherance of its objective of promoting the business of leasing in Nigeria, Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria (ELAN) has concluded plans to organise the 16th Annual National Lease Conference with focus on the economy. The conference is the highest gathering of stakeholders in the leasing industry and a platform for brainstorming on issues pertinent […]

  •  KIAKIAFX partners TURTLEWAX BDC on FX transfers

    KiaKiaFX, an indigenous Fintech company has signed a technical services agreement with Turtlewax BDC to promote the sale of retail Foreign Exchange (FX) where customers can exchange FX from the comfort of their homes offices via desktop, tablet or mobile device. Speaking in Lagos, the Managing Director, KiaKia FX, Abisoye Coker, said the digital platform […]

  • RMB seeks improved awareness on financial inclusion

    The Chief Operating Officer of Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria (RMB), Mr. Funso Odukoya, has called for increased awareness on issues around financial inclusion in the country. Odukoya spoke during a panel session at the 2018 Annual National Conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), with the theme: “Banks, Fintechs and Nigeria’s Financial Inclusion […]

  • NDIC MD Emerges IADI Africa Regional Committee Chair

    The Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Umaru Ibrahim, has been elected the new Chairperson of the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI). Ibrahim was elected during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the IADI-ARC, which was a prelude to the IADI Technical Assistance Workshop being […]

  • Full Communique of MPC Meeting

    CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA COMMUNIQUÉ NO 120 OF THE MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE MEETING OF MONDAY 24th AND TUESDAY 25th SEPTEMBER, 2018 Background The Monetary Policy Committee (CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA COMMUNIQUÉ NO 120 OF THE MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE MEETING OF MONDAY 24th AND TUESDAY 25th SEPTEMBER, 2018 Background The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) met on […]

  • MPC retains interest rate at 14% for 13th consecutive times

    The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday for the retained the Monetary Policy Rate unchanged at 14 per cent for the 13th time. The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, announced the decision of the committee at the end of a two-day meeting held at the apex bank’s headquarters in […]

  • 2018 budget: FG to sell 10 state-owned companies to raise funds

    The Federal Government may put up 10 state-owned companies for sale in the fourth quarter of 2018 to raise N289 billion for the funding of the 2018 budget, Joe Anichebe, a director at the Bureau of Public Entreprises (BPE), has disclosed. Anichebe said preparations are in the final stages for the sales of the companies, […]

  • FG to sell 10 public assets in Q4 2018

    The Federal Government has concluded plans to sell 10 government-owned companies for sale to selected investors and the public in the fourth quarter to raise N289 billion toward funding the 2018 budget,Bureau of Public Entreprises (BPE) has disclosed. According to Bloomberg report, preparations are in the final stages to begin the sale of the companies […]

  • Modric defeats Ronaldo, Salah to emerge FIFA’s Footballer of the Year 2018

    Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has been named the Best Men’s Player at The Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday evening, fighting off competition from fellow nominees Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah. The award caps off an incredible year for Modric, who won his fourth Champions League title with Real Madrid in May, […]

  • Nigerian bond market witnesses low demand

    A slowdown in client demand characterizes the bond market on Monday, unlike sentiments witnessed for the most part of last week. This is on the back of expected renewed supply at the bond auction on Wednesday, where the Debt Management Office (DMO) would raise a total of N90billion from the 2023, 2025 and 2028 maturities. […]

  • Oil price climbs to four-year high as Saudi, Russia turn Trump down

    Oil prices have hit a four-year high of over $81 a barrel after Saudi Arabia and Russia rejected calls by Donald Trump to increase production. Brent crude hit its highest level since November 2014 at $81.16 a barrel, up 3 per cent on the day. Saudi Arabia led the c oil cartel, while Russia is […]

  • Buhari releases N22bn to Nigerian Airways retirees

    The Federal Government has released N22.68 billion to settle part of the retirement benefits of former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways. The government has also approved the release of N20 billion to revitalise public universities in line with demands of the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU). Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, made the disclosure […]

  • MPC set for another policy freeze

    By FELIX OLOYEDE Despite the outcry for lower domestic interest rates, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to leave the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 per cent as it responds to inflation jitters ahead of the 2019 general elections, say economists. The MPC meeting schedule to hold today, Monday 24th 2018 and Tuesday […]

  • Ambode fights for his political life

    By OBINNA EZUGWU It is no longer news; the political love affair in Lagos state is in trouble. For the first time since 1999, a sitting governor is facing a real challenge from his own party for the ticket. The indignity can only be imagined and its implications continue to reverberate across the state and […]