By Quadri Idele Ashabi, Ogbonmwan Imuetinyan Promise, Adeleye Adedeji Adeola and Obi kingsley Ndubuisi
The Mariere hostel at the University of Lagos main campus, Akoka, is set to reopen for student use before the end of January 2024.
In an interview with Unilag Sun on the 9th of January 2024, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, reassured students of the possibility of resuming back into the hostel soon, explaining that the repairs necessary for student reoccupation have been made.
Despite the lack of funds for a speedy, total renovation, she noted that the Mariere hostel had to be closed for repairs, saying, “[Although] there’s no money, we had little money and we looked to repair Mariere because, one, the blind students are there. And at that particular place where they are at, sewage is a problem; it backflows into their rooms.
They’ve called us there a number of times, so that means it needed to be fixed… . I couldn’t even imagine how they could come back into that space. So, we are fixing that and almost finished it. By the end of January, it will be back on board.”
Asides the ongoing hostel renovation, the VC also notes that the need to provide hostel spaces to fresh students, who typically don’t get admitted and registered on time for the general balloting exercise, contributed to the delayed opening of the hostel.
Now that the freshers have a particularly delayed registration and entry because of some unusual verification issues with the Joint Matriculation and Admissions Board (JAMB), the VC hopes that it gets resolved in time so the new students can ballot.
She said, “JAMB is doing some verification and it is taking forever, but we’ve been working with them. And it’s not about UNILAG alone, it is a national issue. But we felt it because our admission was one of the earliest, so we’ve had to postpone things to wait for this, and we didn’t want to do a ballot before the ones affected come in. I think and hope it’ll be sorted because it is national…”
Speaking on the accommodation challenges the university faces, Prof. Ogunsola admits that although the pain it causes is acute now due to the challenging economic realities, she notes that UNILAG has had accommodation challenges for the longest time.
Her words: “I don’t think this is the time that the students had the greatest accommodation challenges because our bed spaces has not increased; we have always had eight thousands to nine thousands.
Her words: I don’t think this is the time that that the students had the greatest accommodation challenges because our bed spaces has not increased we have always had eight thousands to nine thousandsI think what has happened is, now that the transportation cost is very bad, people have gotten more desperate.”
As the school seeks to improve the quantity and quality of student accommodation in general, the VC also touched on the school’s plans to renovate more student hostels and add new ones. She said that the new Gbajabiamila hostel will be nade available for students soon, although at prices likely to be closer to those of Sodeinde and El-Kanemi than those of the federal government subsidised hostels.
Also, Prof. Ogunsola stated in the interview that the school’s other hostels will be worked on during the session holidays.