UNILAG students protest over bedbug-infested mattresses, unsanitary conditions of hostels
NOT too long after the University of Lagos (UNILAG) students protested the sudden death of one of their colleague who was eletrocuted, Oluchi Anekwe, the students yesterday staged another protest over the invasion of bedbugs in their halls of residence.
The protest, which started in the early hours of Monday, saw the placard-carrying protesters displaying their tattered mattresses at the main gate and on the billboards located in the institution.
The displayed mattresses were an eyesore and created a disgusting scene, while the fuming students blamed university management for not replacing the old mattresses as at when due.
They also decried the unsanitary conditions of the hostel, which according to a 300-level student of Chemical Engineering, who preferred anonymity, should be regularly fumigated for students’ safety and overall wellbeing.
The two exit gates of the university, which remained shut for several hours, caused a traffic gridlock in and out of the university.
Giving an insight into the protest, a student who identified himself as Lanre Dairo, said the protest had started from Mariere hall and extended to other halls of residence before dawn.
We received a report that at about 3am yesterday, a student woke in the middle of the night screaming due to the presence of over 100 bedbegs on his body. Agitated by this, students resorted to protest at that hour. I did not join because of the time, but some students did.
“We have been battling bed bugs since the beginning of this session. We have been using ‘Sniper’ to try to get rid of them but the hazardous smell is only sending many of us to the hospital.”
However, when The Guardian contacted the spokesperson of the university and Deputy Registrar (Information), Mr. Olagoke Oke, he said efforts are underway to change the mattresses before the students’ outrage.
His words: “Normally, the mattresses are changed at the beginning of every session. It needs to be highlighted that plans are at advanced stage to replace the mattresses after fumigating the hostel at the end of the second semester examinations scheduled to commence in two weeks time. It is therefore surprising that a group of students will embark on this unruly act.”
“This unwarranted and unruly act of a group of students is condemnable and should not be tolerated in a civilised community. Management has always responded positively to issues affecting welfare of staff and students and would no longer tolerate any situation that will lead to break down of law and order. Management urges students to always engage in dialogue as it is the most fruitful means of conflict resolution.”
He also advised students to learn how to tidy their surroundings and maintain a healthy environment.
All efforts to reach the students union president, Abiodun Martins was futile as his phone was switched off.