Hard Life at Nigeria French Village
LAGOS, Nigeria, May 27 -- Bunmi Ajao is a 300 level student of the University of Ibadan currently undergoing her compulsory Language Immersion Programme at the Nigeria French Language Village. At best, she cuts a perfect picture of an unhappy student. In the past few weeks, she had been subject to hard living conditions at the 20-year old inter-university language centre.
Like Bunmi, many students at the Nigeria French Village are disenchanted with happenings at the institution. While some have deployed social networking sites as a medium to vent their frustrations, others are stoic; at best, they have resigned to fate. “I take solace in the understanding that I have just two months to complete my programme. As such, my spell with this hell of a place would soon be a thing of the past”, she explained.
In March 2009, students undergoing their Language Immersion Programme, Diplome and Module protested against the authorities of the institution as they sought better living conditions. This almost repeated itself recently as female residents chanted solidarity songs on the campus. But the president of the Student Representative Council (SRC) Torsabo kelvin timely waded in to calm their raging nerves.
With the level of academic demands and pressure, one expects facilities to be properly deployed to give students a measure of respite. For a female student of the University of Lagos who preferred anonymity “the reverse is the case here. Instead of comfort, we get pain and unfair denials. I have to come down every day from my room (pointing at a three storey compartment of the female hostel) just to get water. Sometimes the water doesn’t run and one has to wait till heaven knows. Sincerely it disrupts my daily programme because it makes one a perpetual late-comer to classes.”
CAMPUSLIFE gathered that despite the non-violent protest by female students on May 22, a solution is yet to be proffered. In an interview with president of the Students Representative Council (SRC) Torsabo Kelvin, he said: “Personally, I am not happy with the development. The students had officially intimated me. As a link between students and management, we are doing our best to curtail the situation in the shortest possible time.”
As essential as the health of students is concerned, little attention is paid to this by management of the French Village Health Centre. It was learnt there had been complaints about the quality of service rendered on different occasions. Emeka Monyei is a student of the University of Benin. He said: “I was racked in pains on Friday and so, I approached the Clinic for medical aid. For whatever reason, the doctor told me to show up the next day before I can be given the appropriate pills. The next day, I went back to the clinic only to be told the doctor was not on duty. And of course, the nurse on duty refused to give me medications. I had to borrow money from a friend to buy drugs outside the school. It’s strange and baffling. I hope they do something about this.”
Naturally, a student expects some rest especially after a hectic night class (otherwise called “awoko” in local parlance). As he retires to his hostel, the principal thing on his mind would be to hit the sack. “But one finds it pretty difficult to sleep a wink as the sound of generator and dance bands wake you up early in the morning, said Sulaiman Hammed of the Obafemi Awolowo University. Speaking further, he queried: “Why on earth a secondary school should be stationed in between halls of residence? I believe they converted the building to a school because it just doesn’t add up. I want to believe that this is not the original plan of those that created the learning centre. The environment is not conducive for learning and I hope something is done, especially for the sake of those coming after us.”
In a student environment, students’ leadership groups often serve as a bridge between management and the students. But unionism seemed to be outlawed at the French Village. Students’ opinion on issues seems to matter less. Upholding this view, a student of the Uthman Dan Fodio University Sokoto (UDUS) said: “From all indications, it appears the Students Representative Council (SRC) is dysfunctional. People experience darkness in their hostels due to faulty electrical appliances and when complaints are channeled, nothing gets done. An example is the resident of Room AK17 where their fan had stopped working for the past three weeks. Complaints had been lodged over and over again at the Department of Works. But nothing has been done. I would want the SRC to be more responsive.”
However, Sunday Alabi is of the view that life at French Village is hard, expensive and brutish. “The closure of the two gates by 8:p.p. every day is absurd. Things are quite expensive here despite the fact that it’s a students’ centre. One pays through the nose even for photocopies. There are no vendors in the evenings as the few available ones close their shops very early. How do you expect someone who has classes from 9:ooa.m till 5:00p.m and another from 8:p.m. till 9:30p.m to cope?
Though he credited the quality of lectures at the Village. According to him, Nigerian education system would have been better off if our universities would be that dedicated to quality teachings. “Lecturers here are quite excellent. They know their onions. I want Nigerian universities to borrow a leaf by employing motivated and excellent hands in our classrooms. “
300-level University of Benin