Postgraduate students at the University of Lagos, Akoka, have accused the Dean of Students’ Affairs of the institution, Professor Ademola Adeleke, of denying them access into the Erastus Akingbola Hall, where they reside on campus.
The students, who claimed that they paid N234,000 each for a room yearly, further alleged that when Adeleke became the DSA, he changed the validity of their payments to seven months.
While some of the postgraduate students claimed to still have valid payments, PUNCH Metro reported that Adeleke allegedly issued a memo requesting tenancy renewal.
He was said to have directed the students to vacate their rooms for fumigation.
After complying with the directive, some of the students alleged that Adeleke, with the support of the hostel’s hospitality officer, changed their locks and denied them access into their rooms.
One of the postgraduate students, who identified himself only as Olayemi, said the manner they were ejected from the hostel affected his studies.
He said, “Professor Adeleke is using the calendar of the undergraduates to determine our stay in the Erastus Akingbola Hall. How can I pay my hostel fee last year April and by December, a memo was issued to renew my payment because the session has ended, whereas my money is still valid.
“According to the university policy, asides from receiving lectures, PhD students are supposed to conduct research and be involved in community service, which is why we need to be in the hostel.
“The DSA purposely deactivated the process of making online payment for the hostel and decided who gets to be in the hostel because you must meet him before you pay manually.
“Last month, he instructed us to leave the hostel because of fumigation. All the students left with the hope of returning the next day when the effect of the chemicals would have subsided.
“When we returned, we realised that our locks had been changed, while all our loads were still in the rooms. We were denied access and since January 4, I have been sleeping around because I am not based in Lagos.”
Olayemi, who said appeals to the DSA to open the hostel fell on deaf ears, urged the varsity’s vice-chancellor and the dean of the school of postgraduate to intervene.
Another student, who identified herself simply as Sandra, lamented being stranded after the lock to her room was changed, adding that she had been sleeping in her faculty.
She alleged that Adeleke compelled them to sign an agreement that they would vacate the hostel to accommodate participants of the Nigeria University Games Association competition.
“How can a hostel for postgraduate research students become lodgings for NUGA competition participants? I have been stranded since January 4.
“I decided to speak out so that the right thing could be done because the DSA had refused to listen to our pleas.
“I also think that since we are postgraduate students, the DSA should relate with the dean of the postgraduate school when introducing policies that affect us,” she added.
Adeleke expressed surprise at the allegations against him, saying the students misrepresented the facts.
He said, “The PG school calendar ended on the day I told them to leave. The 2018/2019 session ended in early November, postgraduate and undergraduate students register session by session and they pay only for a session.
“Therefore, at the end of a session, they are supposed to leave the hostel, and for us to reallocate rooms, they have to pay fees for the new session and register. If they are not registered, the system will not allow me to allocate rooms to them.
“The students ought to have left in November, but they did not leave and I allowed them to stay till December 29. I can’t fumigate human beings in the hostel, so I said they should use the period to pay their school fees and register and come back for reallocation so they could move back to the hostel. Some did that, while others refused to do that. So, I can’t allow them to stay in the hostel for 2019/2020 when they have not paid their school fees to register for the session.
“They are postgraduate students under the school of postgraduate studies and are not under the DSA. But accommodation is under the DSA, so they go to their postgraduate school and pay their school fees through the postgraduate school portal and register for the session. Thereafter, they will come for allocation which can be done online and manually.”