At the last count, there were 124 universities in the country. Of this, the federal and the state governments own 37 apiece, while 50 others are privately owned. These institutions were set up, primarily to provide access to the teeming number of Nigerians seeking higher education with a view to developing themselves mentally and morally.
This desire for higher education also came with an explosion in admission leading to enormous pressure on existing facilities.
For instance, in its report to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on November 1, last year, the Committee On Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities raised the alarm that over 1,000 students now get packed in lecture halls that were meant for less than 150 students in a number of universities in the country while over 400 students barge themselves into a laboratory originally designed for 75 students.
It added that "Students cannot get accommodation, where they get, they are packed like sardines in tiny rooms," and "No light and no water in hostels, classrooms and laboratories."
Efforts to reach the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, proved abortive as questionnaires sent to him through the Public Affairs department of the commission were not returned even after several follow-ups.
In this report, Collins Edomaruse takes you on an excursion of some of the federal universities across the country and submits that more than any sector; the education sub-sector is in dire straits that needs desperate, honest and patriotic action of all stakeholders to address. Additional reports were provided by Uche Nnaike, Yinka Kolawole, John Shiklam, Samuel Seriki, Adibe Emenyonu, Hammed Shittu, Segun Awofadeji, Christopher Isiguzo and Funmi Ogundare. Photographs courtesy: Needs Assessment Committee Report, 2012
ABU... Beautiful structures, empty labs and workshops The Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria was founded by the defunct Northern regional government in 1961 following the recommendation of the Ashby Commission on "Post-School Certificate and Higher Education in Nigeria".
A Law establishing a Provisional Council for the university was passed by the Legislature of Northern Nigeria in April 1961 to give its establishment a legal backing.
As stated in the law establishing it, the university to, among other things, produce high level manpower, secure the diffusion of knowledge, research and community service in Northern Nigeria and Nigeria in general, and to function as a centre of excellence.
However, today the university, like many others in the country is going through trying moments as a result of the crisis that have continued to bedevil the education sector in Nigeria occasioned by dwindling government funding and increasing population.
At the Samaru main campus of the university, THISDAY noted that although ABU has very solid, beautiful structures all over the place, its greatest challenges are congestion in the classrooms, lack of laboratory equipment, outdated books, and poor hostel accommodation for the about 50,000 students of the institution. Most of the classrooms were designed to accommodate 30 students, but today between 200 and 250 are squeezed into such classes to receive lectures.
The hostels that were constructed to accommodate one or two students in a room, now accommodate between six and 10 students. The hostels are in a terrible state of decay, without windows and the ceilings caving in. The toilets are best fit for the use of animals. Most parents will withdraw their children from the hostels if they see the horrible condition in which they live. Some parts of the hostel are swampy to the extent that when it rains, it becomes difficult to access them.
According to the Student Union President of the university, Mallam Rafindadi Abubakar Aliyu, lack of basic facilities in the university is a great setback to conducive learning activities.
Rafindadi said the main problem facing students in ABU is congestion in classrooms, dilapidated hostels and lack of modern laboratory equipment.
"You see a class that was meant to accommodate only 30 students in those days, today you find out that over 200 students are using the class. These classrooms were built in the 60s and 70s when the university was established. Since then, there had not been any expansion to accommodate the increasing population of students.
"Many of us hang outside by the windows to receive lectures. In my department (political science), we seat on bare floor to receive lectures in the lecture theatre. We are 312 in my class.
"You can imagine one lecturer teaching 312 students, marking 312 scripts and each of the scripts, in an examination, none of them is less than 10 pages.
"Some students seat on the podium where the lecturer is standing. Most of the seats are broken so you put your books on your lap to write. There are no fans in some of the classrooms and when it is hot, you will be using the same book to fan yourself and taking down notes at the same time. During the raining season like this, the classrooms leak.
"The books in the libraries are outdated, the equipment in the laboratories are outdated. You will see a large number of students lining up to use one microscope in the laboratories," Rafidadi said.
He further disclosed that hostel accommodation is one of the most serious challenges facing the students of the institution. He said there are no beds in the hostels and the students put mattresses to sleep on the floor.
According to him, the hostels are overcrowded with six to eight students in a room that was initially meant for one or two persons. "The students are exposed to all sorts of health problems because they also use the rooms for cooking and washing in front of their rooms as there is no laundry where they can wash.
"The toilets are bad, they have no doors and students have to queue to take their bath or ease themselves," he said.
He said the university has a population of about 50,000 students but only about 13,000 of them have hostel accommodation, meaning about 75 per cent of the students stay outside the campus and facing more problems.
Also speaking, the branch Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the university, Prof. Mohammed Kabir Aliyu, said: "During my university days (in ABU), we were nine in my class and the lecturers knew all our names and faces. They knew how all of us were performing and they were able to monitor our performance and how to intervene if we needed help.
"But now I teach 250 students in the same space that nine people were taught. I teach in the Faculty of Arts and since I came here as a student in 1983, no single class has been added and the number of students keeps increasing more than 100 times.
"By the National Universities Commission (NUC) minimum standard, I am supposed to teach 30 students in a class, now I am teaching 250. This means I am doing the work of about seven lecturers. This is where the issue of allowances for excess work load comes in. So, lecturers are also being overstretched.
"Go to our classrooms, you will see how our students will be hanging on the window to receive lectures because the population is too large. Go to the hostels and see how they live. A room that is meant for two or four people, you will see 10 or 15 people. The toilets are overstretched to the extent that you cannot even use them.
"The equipment that were purchased decades ago which have become obsolete are still being used today. If you go to the biological sciences, you will see students queuing to use an outdated microscope for their practicals.
"It is the same scenario in the engineering and other science and technology-based causes. If you go to all universities in Nigeria, the story is the same. Bad hostels, bad laboratories, congested classrooms and so on." He argued that those who are criticising ASUU for embarking on strike to address the bad state of things in the universities were doing so out of ignorance and challenge them to visit the universities and see things for themselves.
According to him, what is urgently required in ABU is expansion in terms of construction of classrooms, more hostels and equipping the laboratories with modern equipment.
Although the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, was not available for comments as he was said to have travelled for an official engagement, the university's Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Isma'ila Shehu, attributed the challenges of the institution to poor funding by the federal government.
UNIBEN... 'It's decay is beyond the Nigerian Prisons' rot'
Perhaps one of the most devastating cases of university rot is the decay in the University of Benin. "There are actually three situations. Teaching, learning and living: Teaching on the part of lecturers, learning on the part of students, and living on the part of both lecturers and students. But in all of these ramifications, the situation is terrible. It is worse than the situation in Nigerian prisons or the Police College, where the president visited unceremoniously sometime ago after a documentary by a television station," was how the Chairman of the institution's branch of ASUU, Dr. Anthony Monye-Emina, described the rot in the school to THISDAY last week.
UNIBEN, one of the pride of the nation, is a moving story of a university in a dire need of attention from the governments at all levels as well as from its array of alumnae.
"For instance, if you go to the libraries, the books there are old and outdated. So more or less what we teach students and what they go to read are old and out-dated materials. And in terms of sciences, especially those that require practical, there is no equipment to conduct such, and what we do is what we call alternative to practical or theory of practical by telling the students, if this is not available, this is what you do; and this is not learning.
"That is why many of them upon graduation are half-baked because when they go to the outside world, they cannot function or perform on the job which is the major reason we are on this strike," the ASUU boss added.
Giving further insight into the state of affairs at the university, the ASUU leader painted a more gloomy picture of the institution when he said: "For instance, if you go to Faculty of Engineering, when we got there during the visit of the NEEDS assessment committee, we were told that those equipment were supplied in 1975 or thereabouts when the faculty was established. Since then, nothing new was added. Even at that, a number of the equipment have broken down. The university cannot repair or rehabilitate them. Now, it is all theory and nothing to demonstrate to the students.
"Then if you go to chemistry department, you meet an empty laboratory filled up with empty bottles. In my secondary school days if you go to the laboratory, you see bottles filled with chemicals. But the chemistry department in University of Benin is all empty bottles. There is even no Bunsen burner. What they use is kerosene stove to heat up chemical when they are conducting experiments. In the same department, there is equipment used in processing uranium for nuclear called centrifuge. I was even surprised that the university has such equipment. But today it no longer functions and has been turned to a refuse dump.
"At the physics laboratory, there is nothing on the table. It is only electric bulbs, rulers and so on. Nothing else!
"In the Faculty of Social Sciences, what you have is overcrowded classrooms and broken down chairs and tables, dilapidated board, etc. The situation is so bad that sometimes if examination enters into the night, the students will be forced to light candles or make use of the torchlight from their handsets.
"Recently, I went to Covenant University and saw that they use audio visual equipment to teach their students, large television screen. So a lecturer can be in the office and be teaching students in the classroom. That is what teaching and learning has become these days. You don't have to be physically present in the class. But no public university can afford such teaching aid because of poor funding.
"To the student of the university, I say they are ingenious enough in my assessment that if exposed to the right teaching and learning condition, many of them when they graduate, will not want to look for white collar jobs, but to set up their own which is possible. Unfortunately, what they learn is mainly theory. Government can curb employment by making sure that students are taught with adequate teaching materials."
University of Ibadan (UI) Bugged down by outdated equipment, messy hostels Most of the buildings on the campus of the premier university were in dire need of renovation when THISDAY visited as they looked old and worn out. For instance, a block of shops adjoining one of the hostels (Tedder Hall), which was said to have been razed by fire some months ago, was yet to be rebuilt.
Besides, the hostel infrastructure also showed glaring effects of overcrowding, thus leaving the students in poles away from decent and comfortable home. It was further gathered that the over population in the hostels coupled with the visible poor maintenance of the facilities made the halls largely over-stretched - the taps no longer run, while the sanitation facilities are in a terrible shape.
Also, the third floor of the Faculty of Arts building, housing the Department of Communications and Language Arts, which was burnt a year ago, is yet to be renovated. THISDAY learnt that as a result of the incident that affected six offices, the affected lecturers now share offices with their colleagues.
The building housing the university press is outdated and in a bad shape, as well as some of the residential buildings, especially the junior staff quarters. THISDAY gathered that the houses have deteriorated "because the houses are highly subsidised and the occupants do not pay commercial rates. The rent generated is therefore insufficient to maintain the buildings."
Electricity is also a challenge at the institution, the hostels and offices do not enjoy uninterrupted power supply and the power generating sets do not work round the clock.
Though the buildings housing some of the laboratories are in good condition, some of the facilities in the laboratories are outdated. Electricity was identified as a major challenge in the laboratories, which prevents students from completing their work in most cases.
It was gathered that the lecture rooms are inadequate for the number of students that use them and that students stand by the windows to receive lectures because of the limited spaces in the classrooms.
At the 200 level Physics Laboratory, THISDAY learnt that the terminal board, which helps to regulate electricity, had been bad and has not been replaced, the laboratory also require a power generating set to enable students complete their work whenever there is power failure.
A lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, who preferred anonymity, said the laboratory lacks major equipment like the mass spectroscopic and the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). He said the mass spectroscopic, which is used in characterisation, is not available in the university.
According to him, Ph.D scholars conducting science-based research require the equipment to successfully complete their work, adding that most of the students are compelled to go abroad to analyse their specimens. He said the NMR costs more than N250 million for installation alone and also expensive to maintain.
A Ph.D scholar, who was seen carrying out his research, told THISDAY that the challenges students encounter in the laboratories include shortage of basic facilities like Bunsen burner, gas, electricity, outdated equipment and shortage of chemicals. He said some laboratories use kerosene stoves, instead of gas and that Ph.D scholars buy the chemicals they use for their research, as there is no provision for that by their respective departments.
University of Ibadan VC Speaks... Explaining the cause of the problem, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said all institutions are not at the same level of decay, adding that the institution's vision is different from the visions of the others.
He said the university's major challenge has to do with its age, adding that the federal government does not fund them based on needs. "We are just given envelopes; I think that is the concern of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). So we want to see budgeting being tailored to 'needs.'
"Being a 65-year-old institution, the university needs a lot of maintenance. What we will like to see is to address some of our challenges due to age, our cables are old, our water pipes are outdated, the water treatment plant that was commissioned almost 30 years ago, will need to be updated.
"It was established at the time when the population was just about 12,000, now we are dealing with a university with a population of over 40,000, not to talk of dependants and so on. We need to look at power and water. In fact, my number one challenge in this university is electricity. Water is also a major challenge and then I want to retool the laboratories to make them better than what they were when I was a medical student and will rival laboratories in Europe and US,"he said.
Adewole added that some members of staff don't have offices, "it is not unusual to find two members of academic staff sharing the same office; the hostels are begging for renovation, the last time we renovated the hostels was about 10 years ago (painting, making sure the water runs, doing the plumbing work and so on)."
He commended the federal government for releasing the N100 billion revitalisation funds to universities, out of which N3.2 billion was allocated to our university.
"What we want to see is a situation where what the government has done now can be repeated on a yearly basis for the next five years and the story will change. What we need is sustained commitment, not just what I call burst of support, let it be continuous," he said.
He recalled that in 2009 when the university got a special allocation, his immediate predecessor had set up a committee that looked into the needs of the university, adding that the submission from across the university then was between N13 and N15 billion.
"In other words, what we got now is nothing compared to what we needed in 2009. I think all over the world, we should see education as an investment and we should continue to put money there because it is education that will drive national development. It is education that will give us the human resource that we need to move into the 21st and 22nd century," the VC added.
He called on the government to revisit the issue of tuition fees in higher institutions and award scholarships to indigent students.
UI ASUU Chair... The Chairman of UI branch of ASUU, Dr. Segun Ajiboye, attributed the rot in the university to long-term neglect. He said the union had over the years, been calling on the government to increase the annual allocation to education to 26 per cent of its annual budget. "But as things are now, the government has not been able to reach that. So, long-term neglect is what has led us to this stage. Even in this year's budget, government voted 8.4 per cent of the budget to education.
"It is really sad the level we have found ourselves in the university system. When you go round the university, you discover that being the oldest university in the country, there are a lot of things that have deteriorated, a lot of facilities have deteriorated in the system. Look at the number of hostels on campus and the student population; you will agree with me that there is a big shortfall in the number of hostels," he said.
In the area of teaching and learning, Ajiboye said: "Most of the laboratories are old and there is nothing there, most of them are empty, no chemicals, no reagents to the extent that researchers cannot carry out effective research in the laboratories. And even when you want to publish your materials outside the country, they will ask you the laboratory you used, if you tell them that you conducted the research in Nigeria, they know that we don't have the facilities for cutting-edge researches. So it is important that government should address this issue. The rot in our laboratories is enormous and we have reached a stage where attention should be focused on our laboratories."
University of Ilorin (Unilorin) An epitome of orderliness, consistency University of Ilorin, Kwara State, is one of the second generation universities in the country. It was established in 1975, and initially affiliated to the University of Ibadan. Originally called University College, Ilorin, the institution is about 300km from Lagos and 500km from Abuja, the Federal Capital City.
For a smooth take-off, Professor Tekena Tamuno, the then Head, Department of History at the University of Ibadan, was appointed the first principal of the University College, in September 1975. Shortly after Professor Tamuno's assignment as Principal of the College, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan. As a result of this, Dr. O. O. Akinkugbe, a professor of medicine and former dean of the then Faculty of Medicine, University of Ibadan, was appointed the new principal in December, 1975.
A visit by THISDAY to the campus few days ago revealed that unlike several other similar institutions in the country, projects embarked upon by Unilorin are never abandoned.
To mention but a few, the new ring roads, laboratories, sports centre, new Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences building, the new Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the new multi-purpose hall, among others, are some that were initiated by the school's leadership and equally completed to the delight of all, including the students.
The University Speaks... Speaking with THISDAY in his office in Ilorin on the infrastructure development at Unilorin, the university's Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Kunle Akogun, said: "Having gone round the campus, you can testify that there is no single abandoned project at the University of Ilorin".
According to him, "This is not a coincidence but the product of a deliberate policy of zero tolerance for abandoned projects".
He said: "As a policy, the University of Ilorin would rather not embark on a project than abandon it mid-way. We often emphasise to our contractors that we do not condone any project delay or abandonment. That is why we ensure adequate mobilisation for any awarded contract and we pay promptly on job delivery". Akogun added: "No facility here is rotting away. We have a policy of maintenance culture such that all our buildings are well maintained".
His words: "Our campus is one of the cleanest and greenest in the country, a fact often attested to by all visitors to the university. For instance, members of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Education spoke glowingly about the academic excellence and environmental aesthetics of the university".
The ASUU Chair... Corroborating the claim of the institution's management, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, Unilorin branch, Professor Wahab Egbewole, said: "For more than 10 years now, the Unilorin administration has designed a strategy to ensure that whatever project they embark on is completed". According to him, "The simple approach is that before the commencement of any project, the funding is already ascertained".
Egbewole further said: "I suggest that government at all levels should adopt the approach. There is however the need to up the scale by paying more attention to aesthetic and utility values of the projects so that, it will be ensuring and be able to serve the needs of the users better".
The Students Union... In his view, President, Students Union Government (SUG) of Unilorin, Comrade Lawal Hammed Abiodun, said: "As far as the University of Ilorin is concerned, there is no any abandoned projects here as the management always award contracts based on the availability of funds".
University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Glittering pedigree, but delivers lectures under mango trees
As a first time visitor to the main campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), you are bound to be faced with the myriad of developmental challenges facing the institution. Top of this is lack of adequate hostel accommodation for its teeming students as well as paucity of classroom blocks. The institution's foremost Zik's Flat Hostel has almost completely dilapidated. As a result of the paucity of classrooms, the students now use the stadium as a facility for teaching.
On the dilapidated hostel block, the Dean, Students Affairs, Prof Kalu Oyeoku, said as a result of the dilapidated nature of the Zik's Flat Hostel, the university will not accommodate students in it. He said he had already informed the university senate that the Zik's Flat Hostel was no longer good for student's accommodation.
He said: "Zik's Flat Hostel buildings are dilapidated and there are many serious cracked walls; the continued using of it will amount to risking the lives of the students. It is only block 'A' of the Zik's Flat Hotel that may be used as hostel accommodation by next session."
THISDAY checks further revealed that various departments in the institution have practically taken up the Akanu Ibiam Stadium of the university as lecture hall, and, most times, take lectures under mango trees due to the shortage of classrooms in the university.
The worst affected was the Faculty of Social Sciences that holds her lectures under mango trees and the stadium. The Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Prof. Christopher O. T. Ugwu, attributed the anomaly to an increase in student population "in the advent of the new millennium."
But the local chapter Chairman, ASUU, Dr. Ifeanyi Abada, would not like to be drawn into commenting on the obvious structural challenges facing the institution. He would rather concentrate on the strike being prosecuted by the union. All efforts made by THISDAY to get across to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bartho Okolo, did not yield any result as his phone did not go through and no other official of the university accepted to speak on his behalf. Specifically, the Director of Physical Planning, Mr. Eze, said he would not talk to the press except he was given the approval to do so.
"I want to get across to the vice-chancellor first before talking to you," he said.
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) 'At oau, 12 students share rooms meant for 4' So far, so bad, was the summation of a student, who pleaded anonymity on the state of the rot at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) last week. Like other public universities in the country, the OAU is also limping with heavy bruises it has suffered over the years because of infrastructural decay following the poor funding by the government.
A glossary of the challenges of the institution include near empty laboratories, workshops without modern equipment, paucity of accommodation for students, inadequate classrooms, over-population, and aged infrastructure, among others. Commenting on the development, the local ASUU chairman, Prof. Akinola Adegbola Peter, expressed sadness that Nigerian universities are presently running far below international standard.
He said: "The OAU's central laboratory has challenges and our junior lecturers carry out their experiments outside the country ".
He cited the chemistry laboratory, engineering workshop, mechanical and civil engineering workshops, buildings and other major structures in the institution as parts of the major rot in the institution. THISDAY reports that the institution's chemistry laboratory, engineering, agric and mechanical/civil engineering workshops had no working equipment.
The ASUU chairman decried the state of students' hostel where about 12 students live in a room that should contain four students.
Even as the institution battles structural decay, the students are still in quandary over what to do to get their student union government reinstated; a body that was sacked by the school authorities some four years ago.
They therefore appealed to the vice-chancellor, Prof. Bamitale Omole, to reinstate the proscribed body. However, Omole was not in school when THISDAY visited the institution last week. So he could not be reached to speak on the myriad of challenges the school is currently facing.
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), BAUCHI 'Zoos better than our halls of residence' A visibly distraught student of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, said the condition of infrastructure in the school has so ebbed that "even animals in the zoo will reject any transfer to live there." That position of the student vividly captures the state of decay of infrastructure in the university.
THISDAY was alarmed to find out that the institution's old lecture theatre was not only in a rotten condition, its ceilings were dotted with leakages and when it rains, the hall is flooded; both the male and female hostels are in need of urgent attention.
THISDAY investigations further revealed that the university's science laboratories and workshop equipment as well as consumables are either absent, inadequate or outdated while kerosene stoves are being used as Bunsen burners in some. Some of the engineering workshops operate under improvised sheds and trees, and the science-based faculties are running what is referred to as "Dry Lab," due to lack of reagents and tools to conduct real experiments, even as there are a number of uncompleted projects found to have been abandoned while shelves in the university library were empty.
Speaking on the rot in an interview, the institution's vice-chancellor, Professor Muhammad Hamisu Muhammad, explained that the major problem confronting the university is paucity of funds which has seriously hampered its academic and developmental activities.
He added that: "There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigerians are too familiar with the problems of the university sub-sector of the country".
Represented by the deputy vice-chancellor (Administration), Professor Isiaka Mohammed, the vice-chancellor said: "The fate of our universities is very pathetic and what we seem to lack is the political will to address and redress the situation because the academic community, ASUU and other stakeholders in the education sector, over the years, have called on the authorities to fix some of these problems but unfortunately, successive governments have been acting in bad faith".
He added: "We find it difficult to check the students during examinations because of their population and you know what that means. Some of the students take their lectures sitting on bare floors, some through the windows, at times, some under the shades of trees and so on, and hostels, lecturers' offices are not only inadequate but in a sorry state, and we are incapacitated to solve these serious problems".
The chairman, ASUU, ATBU chapter, Dr. Lawan Abubakar, who also spoke with THISDAY, lamented that apart from "the inadequacy of such vital infrastructure and facilities for conducive teaching and learning in ATBU, the existing ones are so rotten.
"From the lecture theatre, we have what we can say our number two lecture theatre, I think you saw how it is right now, whenever it is raining, students cannot take lectures in that 300-seater lecture theater because there is leakage all over and there is no modern audio visual facility to even give lecture, it is not available there, so everywhere is leaking, everywhere, all the seats, most of them are broken seats, in there, the windows are all broken, so that is the situation of the lecture rooms".
Also speaking, the Acting President of the Students' Union Government (SUG), Comrade Umar Ibrahim, said "our university (ATBU) is in dire need of better lecture theatre halls, functional laboratories, functional libraries, and particularly our hostels are not habitable as they are in a state of decay yet the students who have no alternative, pack themselves in the hostel rooms like sardines."
UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS (Unilag) Beautiful, but battling obsolete equipment, over-population Metropolitan in location, yet not insulated from the cancer that is speedily destroying the ivory towers in the country, the University of Lagos (UNILAG) is clearly one of the most grievous shocks THISDAY got in the course of this project. It was a great shock because not only is the institution bleeding in infrastructure decay in the face of the motley of corporate interventions; it also confirms the proverb that "all's not gold that glitters."
A visit to the institution may reveal a serene environment; several projects donated by corporate organisations, associations and groups, as well as individuals either completed or nearing completion, but facilities in many departments visited, were either yearning for repairs, renovation or need total replacement.
For instance, the Department of Mass Communication still houses obsolete machines in its printing laboratory. Also its radio/television studios are non-functional and have indeed been converted to lecturers' offices.
The technologist in charge of its printing laboratory, Mr. Emmanuel Oyelade, told THISDAY that the department used to produce newspapers and magazines, but since 2011 when the machines stopped working, the students had to go outside the campus to print the copies.
Some of the lecturers in the department expressed regret about the level of deterioration of its facilities, saying its machines started losing their functions since early 90s and most times students do theory and no practical. At the science department, some of the classrooms also revealed a level of dilapidation as some of the desks and benches are broken and ceiling fans non-functional.
As at the time of this report, neither the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Rahamon Ade-Bello, nor his two deputies, could be reached on the cause of the decay of infrastructure in the institution.
However, the President of UNILAG Alumni Association, Prof. Mojeed Olayide Abass, affirmed that 90 per cent of the institution's budget in the last 10 years has been for operational expenses such as paying salaries, adding that not much has been released for research. He said the science department, especially, still boasts of obsolete equipment that have been there since 1970, adding that the rot was as a result of neglect.
"The deterioration of the facilities started since the time of Babangida in 1984, when the funding of the university was abandoned. Even when recurrent expenditure is approved, funds are not released. Most of the funds generated by the institution is basically from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and every month, UNILAG spends at least over N60 million on diesel to keep it running. We cannot rely on PHCN," he stressed.
Chairman of ASUU chapter, Dr. Karo Ogbinaka, who took THISDAY through the document of the Committee on NEEDS Assessment of Nigerian public universities said: "With the assessment of the committee, physical facilities for teaching and learning in Nigerian universities are inadequate and have been used beyond the original carrying capacity. Many lecturers, including Professors, share small offices; classrooms and lecture halls are dilapidated with poorly ventilated, illuminated, furnished and equipped.
"Facilities are over-stretched/over-crowded and lecture theatres, classrooms, laboratories and workshops shared by many programmes across different faculties; there is improvised open-air sports pavilion, old cafeteria, convocation arenas and even uncompleted buildings used for lectures. In some cases, workshops are conducted under corrugated sheds or trees.
"All these things boiled down to funding. To maintain an old university is like preparing an old woman for a beauty contest university. The rot in the institution was systemic. The strike will last as long as the federal government wants a good education system."