Issues surrounding the poor state, abject neglect and dilapidation of students hostels at the nation’s premier indigenous university, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), is not new. But the ripple effect of the expose by Arise Television, more especially, the comments by Dr. Reuben Abati, have continued to resonate writes EUCLID AGUNWA.
Although the University (UNN) has put up a Public Relations stunt attempting to puncture the claims regarding the state of the hostels, truth remains that facts are sacred, but opinion is free. It must be stated that a visit by anybody to the university will show an educational institution that is still facing the ugly effects of the Civil War as there are several abandoned projects, including the velodrome and stadium complex, near the Faculty of Agriculture.
Unlike comparable federal universities in other geo-political zones, UNN has been unfortunate not to have been gifted with the right calibre Vice-Chancellor with the pedigree to pull the right cords and get the federal government to accord it the deserved treatment as the Premier indigenous university in the country or even as one of the first set of universities in the country. It could be that such VCs had little or no regard for infrastructural development, or beautification of the vast land allocated to it in the two campuses (Nsukka and Enugu) which is why, unlike comparable universities in the Northern or South-Western parts of the country, UNN remains at best a glorified secondary school in terms of infrastructure.
The poor public relations stunt pushed out by the Dean of Students Affairs of the UNN who dished out irreconcilable responses from what had visibly contradicted facts on ground, proving how terrible the situation really is. Just a visit to the university will prove all these.
And the fact that the Education Minister has not visited the university or made any public statement on the issue or set up a panel to probe the expose also affirms that it could be deliberate government policy; if not why?
The UNN management will not want to tell the world that it signed a 30 years PPP agreement with a key sponsor of some top management staff of the University for which students, based on sources, are expected to pay twice of whatever official fee it would be for hostel accommodation in 2022, when the 10,000-bed PPP hostel is expected to be completed. And no one would want to believe that the supervising ministry is not aware of this or that the Governing Council was sidetracked in the agreement?
The university management will equally not want to tell the world, since it is masquerading a “fantastic PR stunt” that it is collecting N5,000 from students for mackintosh before students who secured hostel accommodation in those decrepit hostels are given mattresses and pillows and checked in by hostel porters. Who accounts for those N5,000?
Students tell their parents that the porters claim the mackintosh is to ward off giant bed bugs that have built an empire, feasting on the hapless students, rather than snuff out life permanently from such bugs as well as snakes, reptiles and insects that ravage the university’s Nsukka campus through functional fumigation carried out professionally, even during the vacation. But, to them, N5,000 mackintosh is it. Who accounts for this illegal income? Who pockets the money since it was paid in cash?
It is a shame that a lot of sordid things are happening at the UNN, not helped by apparent lack of interest by the present and past university administration. Ripping off parents and students is now a game, a shameful “academic game” or call it a fraud.
The Students Union Government (SUG) has thus been exposed as either compromised or comprising of puppets or lackeys of the administration. Otherwise, why did they keep mum? Is that the pedigree of SUGs?
It should be pointed out that students offered admission to the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Enugu Campus, among some other courses at the university, do not know their fate (on graduation) because this academic programme is yet to be accredited by the NUC since four years ago when the first set of students were offered admission there. And in order to cover the fraud, none of the students was issued with appropriate admission letters by JAMB for the course. Only the university admission letters reads the correct department. And the admission of the affected students are yet to be regularised by JAMB since they all were given temporary admission into other courses like anatomy, pathology, medical rehabilitation, etc. And hosting the course at a time the world is ravaged by Covid-19 cannot be contested or challenged. But why fail accreditation?
This is in spite of the fact that the first set of students in the department are expected to graduate at the end of this academic session. Next, the University will blame witches and wizards for the inability to do the needful. That cannot be. It is pure sabotage. It is targeted at frustrating the students and their parents. But what on earth did those students and their parents do to warrant all these?
The UNN management will not want people to know that it closed down the zoological garden at the Department of Zoology, several years ago for reasons only and best known to the university administration, leaving mouths agape as to how students in the department do their practicals. Do they graduate half baked?
Needless pointing at the structural designs in some faculty buildings at the Nsukka campus in particular which have no proper ventilation and lighting at the staircases.
It beggars question as to why the Federal Ministry of Education prefers to pretend it is not aware of the problems faced by the university, either imposed or self-inflicted by poor management.
The education minister, Adamu Adamu and his minister of state, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba are aware of the rot at the UNN, only the political will to right these wrongs is lacking and seriously too.
Maybe a deliberate government policy to mark down the quality of its graduates, known globally for their pedigree when UNN was driven along the path set by its founder, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in 1960 and propelled by Dr. George Marion Johnson (1960 to 1964).
As the university management hosts what it dubs “a mandatory Student-Parent/Guardian Summit on 28/10/21 @ Ekpo Ref. UNN by 08:00 am,” there is no doubt the university knows there are too many gaping holes, but is the meeting a fait accompli or actually designed to proffer solutions to the myriads of problems besetting the university?