Malam Auwalu Umar, Director, Public Affairs Directorate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, says the institution retained the N90 (Ninety Naira) official cost of hostel bedspace, fixed 40 years ago, to make things easy for students.
Speaking to a Correspondent, Umar said in spite of the ridiculously low amount being charged, the institution was able to provide hostel to 35 percent of its over 55,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
He said as part of efforts to complement the efforts of the institution, a private firm, BUA Group, and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), had assisted in constructing additional hostels in the university.
Corroborating the statement of the Director, Abubakar-Sadeeq Ali, President, Students Representative Council (SRC), said N90 was the fee charged for bedspace, but there was another N7,000, being amount charged for ‘hostel maintenance’.
However, a female undergraduate student who spoke on condition of anonymity, said most of the rooms were always congested.
The student, who resides at Suleiman Hall within the main campus, said a room of four students hosted up to eight people.
“A room meant for two students hosts about five people, while a room meant for eight students accommodates between 12 and 13 people,” she added.
According to her, some students sub-let their bedspaces, charging between N15, 000 and N35, 000, depending on the room and the hall.
Meanwhile, the private sector is giving a helping hand in the construction of hostels to complement the effort of the management of the institution.
Malam Mohammed Danfulani, Manager of hostels owned by a non-governmental organization, ‘Near Foundation’, said that apart from shelter, the Foundation also fed the students during academic session.
According to him, the Foundation operates separate hostels for female and male students at ABU main campus, Samaru, Zaria.
The Manager explained that during weekdays, the Foundation provides breakfast and dinner for the students, with lunch added on the menu during weekends.
Malam Abba Mamman, the hostel’s Guidance and Counseling Officer, told newsmen that the extra services were provided to reduce their hardship.
Mr. Caleb Akaa, Part three student of Business Administration, said he had stayed in the hostel for three different sessions.
“In the morning, we were served tea with eggs or chips, while the dinner is rice with salad, and sometimes, other different foods and a cup of drink,’’ he said.
Akaa said he paid N215, 000 for the accommodation for the first and second year, but the amount was slightly increased to 225,000.
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