Across the country, students are lamenting the poor state of toilets and bathrooms in higher institutions.
An example is the stench in the toilet within the Aliyu Makama Bida female hostel of the University of Lagos. The unpleasant odour can be perceived from the walkway leading to the hostel. There is also the smell of urine and garbage littering a corner of the toilet.
One of the students, Mary Otobong, said, promises were made by the hall management at the beginning of the year to improve the facilities, but that they were yet to be fulfilled. She said students are made to fetch water to flush the toilet because the water system is faulty.
“You cannot go into the toilet without getting a bucket of water for flushing. But not everyone does that. Some use the toilet and leave it without cleaning it ,’’ she said.
Simi Omobode, who is studying social studies in the institution, says she has never used the toilet in the hall after discovering its terrible state.
“I do not use the toilets. They are in a terrible state. I usually have to restrain myself from defecating until I get to a convenient place. I know it is not good for my system, but I have no choice. The cleaners who are meant to help clean up the toilet hardly do their work. They just rush in, pour water in the toilet and bathroom sink, and leave. They don’t wash them properly. We have complained to the management about the situation, but when we do that, the cleaners take offence,” she said.
The situation is not different at Madam Tinubu Hall of the university, which is also a female hostel. Some of the students told Sunday Punch that they were tired of complaining to the management of the hall.
A student of educational studies, Ayomide Olabanji, said that she has heard of cases where some students in the hall contracted toilet diseases.
“I do not feel comfortable using the toilets seats. Sometimes, the toilets are messed up with human waste for days without being washed. Taking our bath is usually a tug of war. The stench is terrible. So we have to hold our breath while bathing. If there was running water, it would help the situation,” Olabanji stated.
The toilets in the female hostels are not the only ones in a bad shape. The one meant for students in the Faculty of Education is the same.
A student in the department, Yemisi Olamide, says students try as much as possible not to eat or drink anything that will trigger the urge to visit the toilet.
“I don’t use those toilets. They are just too dirty. I prefer to hold my urine untill I get home. Most of us abstain from food and too much drink until after the day’s lectures,” Olamide noted.The Dean of Students Affairs, Prof. Olukayode Amond, however said he had not received any complaint from the students or those in charge of the hostels.
Amond said, “I’m not aware of the state of toilets in the female hostels. During the National Sports Festival hosted by Lagos State in November, we fixed all the toilets and it’s just barely three months since the games ended.” When our correspondent informed him that the toilets were dirty and that students complained of no water, he said he would look into it.
A visit to the Yaba College of Technology, Akoka, showed a similar distasteful sanitary system. A kitchen is located few metres away from the toilet within one of the halls of residence. The corridor leading to the hostel toilet is filled with dustbins.
In Bakassi Hall, students urinate in the bathrooms instead of toilets. The two toilets in the hall are flooded with dirty water and are in poor condition. A student in the biology department, Remi Shonibare, says the toilets are not always cleaned. She adds that there is no water in the hall, thus heightening the risk of infection.
“We have homes and we know how toilets should be taken care of. If there is good water system, we will assist in washing the toilets occasionally, after all, we are the ones using them. But when one considers the stress of climbing the stairs with a bucket of water just to clean the toilet, you will think of an alternative. We are disappointed with the condition of our toilets,” Sonibare explained.
All efforts to reach the Public Relations Officer, YABA TECH, Mr. Adams Adekunle were not successful. He did not respond to a text message sent to his mobile phone.
Although one of our correspondents who visited the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, was unable to gain entrance into the halls of residence because of the restriction of visitors, the condition of other toilets within the school premises are in a bad shape.
The door to the male toilet overlooking the road leading to the hostels is faulty. While a user is battling with the ugly smell in the lavatory, he will also have to keep an eye on the door in order not to expose his private part to passers-by and other users.
Apart from the poor fittings in the toilet, there is excess water running unhindered. One of the students, Adebisi Olusayo, said the situation in his hostel is not better. He added that the cleaners do their job everyday but the students are in the habit of messing up the toilets.
Seyi Aboaba, who resides in one of the hostels, also stated that the student population in the hostel outweighs the toilet facility available.
The Public Relations Officer, FCET, Akoka, Mr. Kunle Akingbade, refused to comment on the issue when he was contacted on the telephone.
He said, “You should have visited my office to verify. I have nothing to say about it on the telephone. I have no comment on it.” He later called back to say renovation work was ongoing in the hostels.
At the University of Benin, students living in the main campus, Ugbowo and Ekenmwan annexes, say the joy of winning a slot to reside in a hostel which is close to lecture halls is being defeated by the poor sanitary situation in the hostels.
Living in any of the four undergraduate male hostels and the two female hostels, halls 1 and 2, at UNIBEN has become a burden to the students. Indeed, the allure of living in the hostels evaporates soon after the students settle in, all because of poor toilet facilities.
Precious Imado ( not real name) is in her first year in the university and already she is thinking of packing out of the female hostel because of the unpleasant sanitary situation in the hostel.
According to her, female students find it more convenient to take their bath in the open, and defecate in cellophane bags, which they throw into a nearby bush.
“You can’t believe what goes on in Hall 1. When it is dawn, students come out to take their bath in the open. It is even worse in Hall 2, where there is hardly a divide between the female and male hostels; you can trust some of our boys will want to catch a glimpse. They intentionally walk by to peep on the ladies who are taking their bath.
“The toilets are nothing to write home about, and many of us prefer to use the alternative, by defecating in nylon bags and flinging it across the walls; that is the in-thing and the best way to keep away from getting infected.
“Sanitary facilities here are simply inadequate and that’s why many prefer off-campus accommodation. In a room of four, you have legal and illegal squatters, it is so bad, but we just have to move on until we get a better alternative,” she said.
At Hall IV (popularly referred to as Abuja) male hostel, the situation was appalling. Unlike the two-storey structure of halls 1 to 3, Hall IV is structured in sprawling bungalow, comprising units 1 to 4. But despite the beautiful architectural design, the toilets are always waterlogged and the stench coming from within becomes unpleasant with every passing hour.
The students said there are cleaners who wash the toilets and clean the floor daily but they do it once in a day and with the pressure coming from the overcrowded rooms, their efforts are in vain. Students living in some of the rooms beside the toilets say they are hard hit by the awful situation in the hostel.
Speaking with our correspondent on the issue, Public Relations Officer, UNIBEN, Harrison Osarenren blamed the students for the collapse of the facilities.
He said, “It is not the fault of the authority. It is the fault of the users. I can take you to the Faculty of Social Sciences and you will see students defecating on the ground.
“It’s not as if the toilets are over-stretched. We have built additional ones. What else will the authority do? We are doing our best. Even in the house, if you do not flush your toilet, what happens? It will get messy.”
At the University of Ilorin, students said although the toilets are washed daily, disruption in water and electricity supply often result in low hygienic state of the facility.
Courage Dirisu, who lives in the Lagos Hostel of Compound E in the university, said, “The sanitary condition is okay but detergents and disinfectants must be made available constantly. Also the cleaners sometimes do not do their jobs well; they don’t always wash the toilets well enough. When the water seizes to flow, students use the toilet without flushing it, so they are messed up. There was a time when the borehole had a problem, so the toilets were bad.”
Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, UNILORIN, Mr. Kunle Akogun, said the institution is committed to ensuring that the toilets in the hostel and other parts of the institution remain clean and safe for use.
“The University of Ilorin has five school-run hostels, four of which are female hostels. All the hostels are well-equipped with adequate and functional toilets, bathrooms and urinary facilities that are always kept tidy by the university cleaners.
“We are mindful of the havoc that unclean and inadequate toilet/bathroom facilities can wreak on the health of our students,” he stated.