The Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has called for an urgent solution to the housing inadequacy in public universities, noting that less than 40 percent of students could at present be accommodated in any higher institution’s hostels.
The AVCNU called for support to address the housing challenges, noting that kidnapping, gang rape, prostitution and robberies were vices associated with students living outside the campus environments.
The AVCNU Chairman, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, said this in Abuja at a one-day policy dialogue on slum upgrade and low-income students’ hostels, themed “Build for Nigeria”.
Adeyewa noted that a major challenge facing students’ accommodation was the paucity of funds. According to him, students from low-income backgrounds were unable to afford the high costs of decent apartments and therefore squatted in shanties off campus.
Adeyewa said, “The problem of housing inadequacies is very worrisome. In universities, we are unable to provide accommodation because of the paucity of funds due to the Federal Government’s policy of students paying N90 for bed space. We have not been able to generate enough funds to address the accommodation issues in our universities.
“In this dialogue, we will address issues considering the fact of accommodation and bed spaces. This is because inadequate accommodation has led to squatting, outstretch of facilities, high maintenance cost etc. Students are left with the options of getting accommodation outside the campus, which invariably lead to some associated vices like kidnapping, drug abuse, prostitution and gang rape. We are worried by a feedback we get that there is no public university today that provides more than 40 percent of accommodation for students.”
Also, the Secretary-General, Committee of Vice-Chancellors, Prof. Michael Faborode, said housing problems had affected the academic performance of students, particularly in government-owned universities.
“The CVC, with the coordinating collaboration amongst the 153 universities in Nigeria, has decided to take a lead by offering a platform to identify and promote a possible and promised solution,” Faborode added.
The Minister of States for Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan, who represented the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, at the dialogue, said the Federal Government was committed to tackling the housing deficits in the country, noting that other stakeholders must lend their support.