OAU New Accommodation Policy: See How Ife Landlords Exploit Students
By Beloved John
Aside daily chronic transportation crisis rocking the system of Obafemi Awolowo university, Landlords within Ife city have taken accommodation challenges as a means of wealth accumulation, OAU Peeps News Agency can Report.
Dilapidated houses lacking proper maintenance and necessary facilities that qualifies an apartment are been leased out to students in their horrible state at high rates due to the clear fact that they believe no other means of abode for the Students.
Exploitation of students persistently rises as landlords continually increase rents even without any substantial retouch done on these buildings.
Houses with hefty charges are mostly within lagere, Mayfair, Parakin, Asherifa and Ede road as they are closer to the university campus gate.
OAU Peeps News Agency correspondent staying around Mayfair, a suburb area in the city, caught a glimpse of how one of the landlords, reportedly increased an apartment worth #40,000 to #75,000 and later to #80,000 without any prior information to the house inhabitants nor any significant changes on the building, leaving them with the choice of either staying or leaving.
Speaking with an affected student, Miracle, a 300level Engineering student narrates his ordeal while trying to keep an apartment earlier rented by his friends.
"We found the place quiet convenient and decided to take the apartment, The plan was to renew the rent which is to expire July when the rent was suddenly increased" he said
According to him, The landlord mentioned that there is a student who was "willing to pay for the room at the newly stipulated price", miracle is now left with the the choice of either "pay or leave".
"There are people who are ready to pay #120,000 for the room so we are to pay the same amount".
We had to beg the landlord while we also tried, used our right as students before it was finally reduced to #90,000" Miracle added.
A house agent, Mr Ayo blames the accommodation policy for these ridiculous charges
"Houses are very expensive currently, This is due to the OAU's new accommodation policy, Most students have forceful driven out of campus and are in a rush to get houses,The landlords are aware that this a rush hour"
This News Agency also confirm through series of undercover how caretakers and Student Agents operates.
This set of people (caretakers), while in contact with Students with enthusiasm to secure accommodation, they will charge a thousand naira for 'checkout'. This fee will serve as gratification for them helping the Student to find vacant accommodation.
If (probably) an accommodation is secured, the 'caretakers' will then add their own percentage of service to the Stipulated amount as dictated by the house owner. This percentage is based on total number of caretakers or agents that work out the Student seeking accommodation.
The other way round that is adding salt to the wound of rent is 'Student Agents'.
These set of students will run BCs on OAU based WhatsApp platform amidst other social media hubs, stating to help secure accommodation for the needy.
These student agents will collect a thousand naira from the Student as their bosses do off campus for ' check out'. Most of these students Agents are in affiliation or directly working with those caretakers off campus.
After securing the apartment, the percentage of the student agent adds up to that of the 'caretaker', Making huge the amount the subjects will pay to secure a place to lay heads.
This same fee hike in rent, not only peculiar to hostels off campus, but also to 'Maintenance'( set of hostels on OAU Campus).
Towards the end of last year, the Association of Campus Journalists, Obafemi Awolowo university, issued a press Release where the school Management is called upon, to immediately intervene in the worsening state of the private hostels on campus, Maintenance Hall despite the continual increase in rent cost.
"...Following the outcry of the occupants of maintenance hostels about the horrible state of the pocket-tearing hostels which are owned by the management and private individuals and in a bid to find a lasting solution to the inhumane treatment, some occupants of the hostel have deem it fit to relay their horrendous experience with ACJ's representatives. A few number of them narrated their ordeals anonymously because of the fear of victimization by the caretakers of the hostel. An occupants of De Gold hostel has this to say "despite the incessant increment in the hostel fee, that's from N75,000 to N95,000 and now N105,000, though its two persons in a room, there is no maintenance, our fans are not working since we packed in, The WC toilets are not working perfectly, The net has been torn which gives room for mosquitoes of different types into the room"
Another part of The Press Release reads:
Another occupant from Bever hostel says ; "the hostel fee which was initially N75,000 is now N85,000 yet there is no maintenance, The bed is bad to the extent that a laptop was destroyed, though N10,000 was given after we lodged complaints , but the owner later spent additional N15,000 to repair it and up till now, no measure has been taken to avoid such scenario from repeating itself. The table meant for reading and dinning is not in a good state, toilets pipe has broken which makes the place to be polluted, lastly we've been warned to pay before resumption hence we will meet our loads out of the hostel when we resume from the end of the year break"
An occupant also revealed to our correspondent about what she is passing through in the hostel;" there are scorpions in our rooms, and we are being denied access to the owner of the hostel. Construction of Another building is going on in our hostel, and the workers who are mostly male are always passing their night in the same hostel with us instead of them to be given an apartment to pass night outside the hostel that is basically for female students, we used to be disturbed by their noise in the midnight and we are not free to work anyhow as ladies because of the fear of having opposite sex passing night in the same hostel with us." she said. After much investigation to this inhumane issue..."
It would be recalled that the OAU new accommodation policy was fully applied following the resumption of student for 2017/2018 Academic session .
The policy which had earlier led to the renovation of hostels after the struggle and forceful eviction of students in the hostels, which led to the incarceration of OAU5 , also drastically limiting the number of students in Halls of residence, which its multiplier effect spread through off campus.
Although the new policy was made to improve school accommodation standard, students outside school campus are compelled to endure the threats of this new policy.