Students in Nigerian universities have stories to tell, but hardly anyone to tell them to. For our new weekly series, Aluta and Chill, we are putting the spotlight on these students and their various campus experiences.
When you think back to your hostel days in the university, what do you remember? Your roommates? The times you broke the rules and got away with it? The struggle of coexisting with hundreds of strangers?
Students get into the university and realise that for the duration of their studies, the hostels are their new homes. It might as well be because that’s where they spend the bulk of their time. Therefore, it’s only natural that these places are a hub of different stories. For this week’s Aluta and Chill, I got a couple of Obafemi Awolowo University students to talk about a memorable hostel experience.
Dunmomi – Got an unwanted roommate
I’ve never been a fan of campus fellowships. Even before I came into the university, I was told to attend a “real church” because fellowships take more time. I was in my room minding my business when some fellowship people came to the hostel to evangelise. One of my roommates is a muslim and when one of these fellowship sisters found out, she turned her attention to her. On the first day, she spent hours in our room preaching to her We didn’t mind because we thought it was a one-time thing.
It was not.
She came the following day and the same thing happened. Was that the last time she came? No! She made it her life mission to convert my friend. This dear sister literally made our room hers. At some point, she began to bring food when she was coming to visit. And if we cooked, she would ask if she could eat out of it. Her dedication was everything but we no longer found it cute. If this sister knew she was no longer welcome, she didn’t show it. And no, she didn’t stop coming until the session ended and we had to leave the hostel. Basically, my roomie and I got an extra roommate we didn’t ask for,
Joy – Uhm, bedbugs
I was in my first year and I loved reading alone. Besides, I found it stressful to walk from my hostel to the library or the department to study. There was a common room in the hostel that was rarely used. Word around the hostel was that it was infested with bedbugs, but I didn’t mind. At the time, I didn’t even know what bedbugs looked like. So, the common room was my go-to place for studying.
I was making last-minute preparations for an exam I had the following day when I saw an insect on the page of my textbook. I suspected that it might be a bedbug and I called my roommate’s attention to it. When I squished it and saw blood, I knew that I had brought these things into the room. I couldn’t sleep that night as they began their reign of terror. They had taken over every inch of the room before morning.
After I finished writing my exam, I brought Sniper, diluted it with kerosene and fumigated the room. It took care of the bedbugs, but the smell sent us out of the room; we had to leave the room for a few weeks. In those weeks, I had to share a 2 ½ inch bed with a friend.
Daniel – Someone broke into his room
When I was in my first year and second year, people broke into my rooms and stole my roommates’ phones. However, on both occasions, I was out studying.
My luck ran out last year.
I watched a movie on my phone until midnight when I stopped because I had to be in church early the next morning. My phone was on the verge of dying, so I plugged it in and kept it under my bed. I made sure that I properly locked the two doors leading into the room.
Around 4:30 AM, one of my roommates woke me up and asked for my phone. I thought they wanted to get movies from me, so I dismissed him and directed him to check for it under the bed. But he kept nudging me to stand up. When he told me that everyone in the room couldn’t find their phones, I sprang up and quickly checked where I kept my phone. It wasn’t there.
I was in the denial stage. I turned the whole area upside-down thinking I’d kept my phone someplace safer, but I didn’t find this thing. Neither could my roommates find theirs. We all thought it was a joke at first — that someone was playing a prank on us. As every hour passed, reality dawned on us. Someone had broken into our rooms and made away with our phones.
Unfortunately, I had an important test in two days and all of my study material was on the phone. Bruh! I was lucky enough to have a friend with two phones. He borrowed me one to use until I wrote the test.
Rotifa – Almost evicted from the hostel
There are four male hostels in my school, so the accommodation struggle is real. I bought bed-space from a guy in a hostel reserved for penultimate and final year students. For context, I was in my first year and shouldn’t have been in that hostel. To play it safe, I collected his hostel ID card and replaced his picture with mine, so I could have something to present to the hall officials whenever they asked.
I left the ID card in the hostel one morning and went to class. After my first class, I returned to the hostel to pick up something. That was the worst time for someone like me to be in the hostel. One of the hall wardens stopped me and requested for my ID card. I told him that it was in my room. It got real and he asked for my matriculation number. I had just gotten into the school and was still using my JAMB registration number. Not sure of what to say, I claimed that I didn’t remember it. Wrong answer because no one forgets their matric number.
The warden caught me in the lie, so he asked me to take him to my room. When we got there, he told me to remove my things from the room and leave the hostel. He was dead-serious about it and he made sure that I packed all my stuff out. It looked like I was going to be homeless.
When everyone saw how serious the situation was, they rallied behind me and begged the man. This went on for a few hours but the man wouldn’t have any of it. Luckily, out of the blues, something touched his heart and he relented. When he told me I could go, I dropped to my knees and thanked him profusely, throwing all the Yoruba words I knew into the mix. I had to return my stuff back into the room. Considering how worse the situation could have been, I had no complaints.
Ifeoluwa – Was caught with contraband
I’d just moved into the hostel for medical students. In my first month, two hall officials came to my room and saw a contraband – It was a hotplate. I actually thought it was allowed. In their mind, they had caught an erring student. One of them asked me to bring it, but I didn’t oblige. I apologized, trying to let them know that I had no idea that it shouldn’t have been in my room. One of them made to walk to my corner of the room and pick it herself. Instinctively, I jumped to my feet and rushed to pick it before she got there. From there, they made it seem like I was out to injure the woman.
They started to rant but I didn’t exchange words with them. When they were done, they promised to come back to deal with me. School sent us home because of the coronavirus pandemic, so they haven’t had the chance to deal with me.
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Can’t get enough Aluta and Chill? Check back every Thursday at noon for a new episode. Find other stories in the series here.