Any student that have passed through the four walls of a tertiary institution in this country and had the supposed priviledge of staying in the hostels will be familiar with the terminology called ‘squatting.’ For the purpose of clarification, a squatter is someone who resides in a (hostel) room that he or she does not own, often with the intent of eventually taking possession of that property.
The authority of being a squatter, as well as the rights that such a person legally has, as the issue of accommodation has become the center of discussions in different campuses. In tertiary institutions today, it’s no longer news that at the beginning of the semester some students are usually stranded as regards accommodation issues especially the new students.
Accommodation or a lack of it, as I have observed, has come now become very tough issue among undergraduates in our ivory towers across the country especially the government /public owned institutions. As an example, one afternoon, my friends and I were discussing on the issue of accommodation, that in my school we have multitude of students but have few hostels; how can students cope in such situations?
Amaka, one of my friends, stated quite frankly, that it is important the school authorities look deeply into the issue as many students fall into various temptations because of their lack of accommodation or an inability to get the funds to get a suitable one.
She went ahead to recount how a girl came to her the other day to say, “‘Sister, please helps me, I am living with a male student because of accommodation, and I am forced to do some things not proper for me.’ I quickly considered her as my room to save the soul.
“I was a victim of this. Then in my year one, I bought a hostel form at the rate of N500, hoping to see my name when the lucky list is posted, unfortunately my name was not on the list. I looked around and asked myself, ‘what next can I do’?because I know I cannot afford the money for off campus accommodation.
“Beside me, a girl was so happy, making phone calls. I asked her. Before I could even open my mouth, she replied: “My sister, my name came out, not even once but twice because I used my name and my sister’s name to purchase the form. I am now a big girl, I will make a lot of money this time around. When I asked her how she told me: “In each of these my hostel spaces, I will sell each at the rate of 25,000.
“I quietly left that environment and while searching for someone to squat with, the first person I met said she will squat me with the amount of N14,000, while all expenses in purchasing of the hostel is N8,000. As a new student it seemed so terrible to me.”
I will not end this piece without pleading with my fellow students who have now turned the need for accommodation into a money-making business as it does not help in the long run. One must also plead with the school authorities to look into providing more accommodation for students on campus and off it. One more hostel built and given to students may be saving more than a few students from difficult situations that could derail their dream in life.
300 Level Mass Comm