By Omoitunu Afolabi
It is not news that balloting for bedspace in the prestigious University of Lagos is like a tug of war between the students and the accommodation portal.
Have you ever asked yourself why it’s like this? Well, I’ve got an answer for you!First, at least, about 75% of the students in UNILAG want to stay in school hostel at all costs due to the ridiculously expensive rate of getting accommodation off-campus and the fact that most students want to enjoy the fun and comfort staying in campus brings(…have you been to Love Garden, New-Hall and Moremi Garden at night?? You’ll understand better with that)
Add this to the fact that according to the DSA, there are 8,000 bed spaces for about 29,000 students (…you can imagine how highly competitive that’s going to be).The interesting but weird part is that every student of UNILAG has a story to tell about their accommodation adventure.
Here, I’ll share my story and that of a fresher I met last night. It might seem quite pathetic but it’s part of some challenges we have to face in the system. In my three years as a student of this school, I’ve never gotten bed space before even though I fight so hard and do whatever it costs, but this is my third year as a squatter in our Prestigious Institution! Trust me, I am not alone in this.
I’ve never gotten bed space before even though I fight so hard and do whatever it costs, but this is my third year as a squatter in our Prestigious Institution!
I left home as a fresher without assurance of how I’m going to get shelter. Faith has been working for me all along. I got to my dream school one Saturday afternoon in the year, 2018 and set on a quest of accommodation.
After a long stroll around school hostels, searching for an ‘angel’ that could squat a ‘stranger’, I entered and joined a Campus Fellowship during one of their meetings because I had a feeling that church guys are nice guys. I narrated my ordeal to a leader in church after the service. My story turned out well as they got me somewhere to stay till I sorted my accommodation wahala.
Let’s leave my story. Here’s the heart-breaking story. I met a young fresher last night loitering around Moremi Hall. This young lady walked up to me and told me she needed a place to stay for the night; having been in her shoes a number of times before, I understood her plight and was quite empathetic on her behalf.
According to her, she’s been living like that for the past two weeks now. She paid 30,000 Naira to one of the “any-work” in the hostel to help herget someone who could squat her. This “any-work” lady had “slied” her- although she still claims she’s “on” it’.
I couldn’t ask the girl to come stay with me since I’m just a squatter too. She made me understand how she’s been coping all along – she has her load in a store nearby, picks whatever she’ll use the next day from the store and get on her ultimate search for shelter…and the cycle continues. Well, I just did the little I could; I stood by her until she got somewhere to stay although the roommates were not so comfortable with it, they were nice to an extent, all she needed was to overlook and endure for thenight.
Tonight is a mystery yet to be revealed, I hope she gets a nice place to
settle at the end of the day.