By Tasi’u Aminu
Until 2022, when he gained admission to study Accounting at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Faisal Yusuf, 17, had never been to Sokoto State. Despite being from Abuja, North-central Nigeria, he found it difficult to adapt to the new weather, which he deems draconian, and likewise the strange environment and the distinct social preferences.
Hostel Dwellers’ Dilemma
The state of the university halls of residence further deepened Yusuf’s discomfort. After weighing his accommodation options, he applied for accommodation there, expecting it to be the most cost-effective option. Although his reality of living in the halls of residence failed to meet his expectations, he does not regret his choice. However, one challenge he can’t stomach is the rampant stealing that, as he observed, hostel dwellers have to deal with.
He recalled that “last semester, on [a] Friday, I went to the mosque for Jumu’at prayer. After the congregational prayer, I rushed back to the hostel because of the weekly theft that occurs on Fridays and I didn’t want to fall victim. As I reached the hostel, I noticed from afar that the door of my room was open. I moved closer to the room only to find out, with dismay, that thieves had broken into the room and made away with my phone, charger and miscellaneous wallet”.
Though he enjoys perks like ready access to water and electricity, proximity to academic and sports facilities, security and the opportunity to mingle with people of different ethnicities for a fee of about ₦16,000 per academic session at the University Main Campus, Yusuf blames his plight on his decision to stay in the school hostel.
Abdulrahman Adeyemi, a 300-level student, despite his concerns about the poor condition of the toilets amongst other challenges, insisted that he prefers “the student halls of residence to private accommodation, though there are some challenges. Since my 100-level, I have always lived in the hostel and I will be staying in the hostel till I graduate”.
A Costlier Alternative
However, for comfort and privacy, some students settle for life off-campus [university halls of residence] as they can’t condone the situation at the university halls of residence, where students from an array of backgrounds and with different habits coexist.
PEN PRESS gathered that the cost per annum for a regular self-contained room in private hostels could be as low as ₦60,000 and rise up to ₦100,000 within the premises of the Fodiyo Varsity Main Campus, and even higher beyond the university grounds.
Muhammad Bashir Umar, who is a 200-level student, detests living in noisy places. This preference made him seek accommodation at a private hostel in Gidan Yunfa.
“One of the reasons why I have chosen to stay off-campus is because I don’t like a noisy or chaotic environment, [which I can’t avoid] in the hostel due to the number of students in a room,” Umar explained.
Aisha Abdallah, a 200-level student of Agriculture and resident at the Benji Private Hostel located within the university premises, informed PEN PRESS that “my cousins are staying off-campus. So when I came to UDUS, I decided to live with them in the private hostel because I did not know anybody in the hostel”.
“Aside from the utmost privacy our private hostels provide, we enjoy other benefits that aren’t accessible to students at the school hostel. We use gas cylinders and electric cookers and there are cleaner environments and less reports of theft cases”, boasted Aliyu Garba, a 200-level student and resident at Shama Village.
Another student and resident at the Benji Private Hostel, Usman Mubarak Adebayo, maintained that “residing off-campus is more comfortable for me because I can accommodate a visitor the way I want. By the way, I’m a student of Agriculture and my faculty is closer to where I’m staying. That makes it more convenient for me to attend lectures without lateness. I can also keep my belongings the way I want in my room without any fear”.