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UNILAG students pass nights at car parks, faculty buildings…

By Eno-Abasi Sunday, Ujunwa Atueyi, Ruth Adekunle and Kanayo Oguegbu
06 May 2016   |   3:18 am
Some returning students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) are facing very tough times at the institution, as they were shut out of the hostels, and had to put up in utterly undignified conditions.
Some of the students

Some of the students

They are squatters putting up with friends

Some returning students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) are facing very tough times at the institution, as they were shut out of the hostels, and had to put up in utterly undignified conditions.

Many of the affected students, who are alleged to be squatters in their respective hostels on campus, spent Tuesday night in car parks, faculty buildings and sundry spaces within the school, having been disallowed access to the halls of residence.

After a protest by students over lack of municipal services on campus led to the closure of the institution, the school’s Senate, on Friday, April 22, 2016, announced its decision to reopen the institution.

In re-opening the school, the Senate mandated students to download and complete an undertaking form, while their parents and guardians were to complete an indemnity forms before they would be allowed into the halls of residence and take part in the first semester examinations for the 2015/2016 academic session.

According to the circular, “The University shall re-open for full academic activities on Monday, May 2, 2016, and the first semester 2015/2016 session examinations shall commence on May 9, 2016. Returning students must sign an undertaking to be of good behaviour, which must be properly endorsed by their parents/guardians.

“Completed undertaking forms, which must be notarised and parent’s indemnity form should be submitted at the various departments and a clearance obtained. Students accommodated in halls of residence are to obtain a clearance from the departmental officer, which must be presented at the halls of residence to gain access into their rooms. The clearance would be required to gain access into examination halls. No student would be readmitted without completing the above process.”

A 200-Level physically challenged student of the Department of Mass Communication, Faculty of Social Sciences, Trust Shawn Inonse, told The Guardian, “The situation has gotten so bad that students had to sleep in their faculties on campus.

Inonse, who is sight-impaired said, “A good number of students slept outside the hostel. I personally would have slept outside, but for the intervention of some hostels porters, I was allowed into the hostel at about 1am. You can imagine students who come from around the country, who have no relatives in Lagos being forced to sleep outside. It is cruel and unfair for students to be denied entrance into their hostels when examination is coming up on Monday.”

Another student in the Department of Marine Science, who simply identified himself as Joshua, however, said some students who passed the night in open air were not bonafide residents of the hostels. “They are squatters who are putting up with friends. The university has minimal accommodation for students and yet they don’t want the students to squat. How is that possible?”

Deputy Registrar/Head of Media, UNILAG, Mr. Toyin Adebule, said the incumbent administration, which is bent on sanitizing the school has no room for squatters on campus.

“I can assure you that no legitimate student slept outside the halls of residence. As an institution, we are bent on doing everything to create a good atmosphere for teaching and learning. To do this, we must rid the school of squatters because it is illegal to do so. We no longer condone squatting for security reasons because some of those squatters could be drug addicts and drug sellers,” the deputy registrar said.

While stressing that the school authorities would do everything possible to accommodate students within available facilities on campus, he said it would be important for the Federal Government to re-introduce student loans to cushion some of these effects.