Amidst accommodation challenges, OAU builds ‘private’ hostel beyond students’ affordability
NEWS DIGEST – Following series of complaints about lack of adequate hostel accommodation in the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, student’s community of the institution were recently thrown into jubilation on learning that the University management was building a multi-million Naira hostel for them.
The students’ perceived jubilation was, however, met with a growing concern over the affordability of such ‘private’ hostel as a majority of the students interviewed by The
NEWS DIGEST believed that the hostel was built under Public-Private partnership.
According to the students, such arrangement automatically renders the hostels when completed expensive beyond the reach of the ‘ordinary’ students of the institution.
But, the NEWS DIGEST learnt that the new hostels which are yet to be named are funded with the Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities (2013 special presidential
Furthermore, documents obtained by The NEWS DIGEST showed that the University got N2billion from the federal government for building new hostels including the purchase of new facilities for the hostels.
Aside from that, the document also shows that in 2013, the Federal Government released money for the following projects: Rehabilitation/Renovation of hostels for N200million, Rehabilitation/Renovation of lecture theatres and lecture rooms for N250million.
However, when contacted, the OAU Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olarewaju, said the hostel was built on the University land but was silent about the PPP arrangement.
Affirming to the ownership of the under-construction hostels, Mr Olanrewaju said “OAU is the owner of the hostels. The hostels are not built outside the University campus.
“Land upon which the hostels are built is OAU land. And are you aware that OAU land extends to Moro (a neighbouring town) where we have our Distance Learning Center? So with this, we have the right, the entitlement to build any structure in any part of our land.
“So the school area you are talking about is not the only asset we have. So when we build hostel within the confine of our land, it is still within the school premises.
“We are the owner of the land, we are the owner of the hostels and where it is built is not outside the OAU campus,” the PRO emphasized.
Speaking about the affordability of the new hostels as compared to the old ones of #3,090 per bed-space, Mr Olanrewaju told The NEWS DIGEST that, “it depends on what
you mean by affordability.
“Everything in life is affordable according to your purse and according to your budget. We can’t compare the affordability of the new hostel with what is obtainable with the old ones.
“There are private hostels outside campus worth of #60,000, #70,000, #100,000, and the likes. There is a hostel along Ede road which is #200,000 per room for students, which we have some parents that have secured this accommodation for those children. So it depends on what you mean by affordability”
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede also said the University will lease the building out to private companies as he said he varsity is broke “We will lease the hostels out as we dont have money to complete its building, we planned to complete it before resumption but we cant meet up again, after we get money from the company and lease it out,we will then get it back from them”.
However, one of the security men attached to the hostel construction site told NEWS DIGEST under a condition of anonymity that the building, which has been in construction
for like three years ago, will possibly be completed in three weeks’ time.
He added that it’s only the interior and some petty works that are still holding the completion.
It will be recalled that The NEWS DIGEST reported weeks ago about the hefty plans by the school management of the university to facelift the horrible state of the old hostels of
the four male hostels and other four female hostels of the institution.
Students who spoke with The News Digest said the development is worrisome.
“Truly, it is a very worrisome development. If we have students complaining about accommodation and such money is invested, we all know the hostel won’t be really
affordable, it is very saddening,” a student who identified himself as Segun said.
Another Student, who spoke under anonymity, said such hostel would have been better if it were going to be affordable.
“The hostels cannot be really affordable, they were not allocated and only God knows who will stay there,” the student lamented.