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One of the problems facing institutions of higher learning in the country today is inadequate hostel accommodation for the teeming students’ population.
And this has been causing serious concern to the government and institutions’ authorities.
It is well known that ideal hostel accommodation plays an important role in the life of students in our institutions.
This is because, to get the best result from students, adequate arrangements must be made for them to rest and relax well.
This is however, not to say that off campus students do not excel in their academic pursuits.
It is for this reason that many institutions have clamoured to provide hostel accommodation to their students by building either permanent or temporary structures.
But at that, there is still persistent acute shortage of accommodation in every academic session.
Observers attribute this situation to increase in new in-takes of students who are usually more than the number of hostels available. This pathetic trend would continue.
For instance, more federal and state universities and other higher institutions have been and would be established in the country to meet the Nigerians enormous appetite and enthusiasm for education.
In such a situation, the possibility of accommodating each student becomes very difficult.
In fact, at the beginning of every academic session, students and their parents besiege the campus to secure hostel accommodation for themselves, their children or words.
The situation is so bad that to secure accommodation, the students or the parents would have to go out of their way to offer favours to the staff of the department concerned for hostel accommodation.
In case a student fails to secure one, he or she resorts to hiring exorbitant accommodation within or outside the campus, without the basic needs required, such as water, electricity, toilet facilities, among others
To other students, they have to come from their residential homes with all the attendant problems both at home and on the road. This, to say the least, is not conducive to learning and teaching.
However, we have witnessed several times students’ unrest, demanding the provision of adequate hostel accommodation on their campuses. Yet, the problem of the hostel accommodation still lingers in our institutions till date.
No wonder Maslow in his hierarchy of needs theory stated that individuals are motivated to engage in behaviours which fulfill their needs in the following hierarchical order, physiological needs, safety needs, affection needs, esteem needs, self-actualization needs. The principles of the hierarchy of needs imply that the first and most important needs of any individual which would motivate that individual to action are the physiological needs which are typified by the needs of food, shelter and food among others.
It is against this background that we commend most institutions that have embarked on endowment fund launching to alleviate some of their problems, including lack of hostels.
As part of its social responsibilities and considering the pathetic and acute shortage of hostel accommodations in our institutions, the Niger Delta. Development Commission, NDDC, resolved to partner with higher institutions in the nine Niger Delta States in providing hostel accommodations and construction work had already commenced.
But, be that as it may, the hostel buildings were uncompleted and or abandoned due to one reason or the other.
Interestingly, the present NDDC board is about renovating all the uncompleted and or abandoned hostel buildings previously embarked upon by the Commission for the betterment of the students.
Speaking recently on a visit to one of the abandoned or uncompleted hostel buildings at Abia State, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Christian Oboh, said that all abandoned or uncompleted hostel buildings in the nine Niger Delta States would be completed and put into use. This is a welcome development and a step in the right direction.
We are aware that the completion and handover of the hostel buildings would at least go a long way in solving the problem of hostel accommodation in higher institutions.
Also, as part of alleviating this hostel accommodation in our higher institutions, some individuals and corporate bodies had at one time or the other constructed hostel accommodation for some institutions in the country.
In this regard, the authorities of higher institutions in the country should uphold the importance and adequacy of preventive and corrective maintenance in order to safeguard the life-span of government property and facilities.
Also, government should continue to give priority attention to the provision of students’ hostel accommodations in our institutions of higher learning.
Corporate bodies and companies operating within the ambit of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should join hands with government and institutions and authorities aimed at providing accommodation to higher institutions.
It is said, and rightly too, that a problem once identified is half solved.

Written By: Felix B. I. George

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