In the light of fuel scarcity and issues on transportation in the country and most specifically on campus, the Union of Campus Journalists took the time out to have an interview session with the office in charge of the welfare of students on campus -the Welfare Secretary precisely.
UCJ Unilorin: Can we meet you sir?
Welfare Secretary: My name is Mr Asukuti Ibrahim Abdullah, popularly known as Asukuti. I am the Welfare Secretary of the current administration of the Students’ Union (‘Together, we can’) of the University of Ilorin. A 400 level student of Counselling Education from the Faculty of Education.
UCJ: What is your take generally as the Welfare Secretary concerning the happenings on campus?
Welfare Sec: The truth is that, it is something that the blind and deaf can testify to on campus, that there has been problems we have been working on overtime. Part of these issues are the issues of accommodation and transportation. However, we all know that the major aim of the Students’ Union is the welfare and well being of our students and those making their daily means basically through transactions with students on campus and off campus, thus, the University community at large.
UCJ, Unilorin: What initiatives has Student’ Union come up with to alleviate or reduce the suffering of students on the transportation issue especially during this fuel scarcity?
Welfare Sec: There has been developments since the flag off of our administration. As we all know, the major function of any organisation or union is to look into the better status of her members or let me say her people. The issue of accommodation in our own administration has improved. However, permit me to start with the issue of accommodation on campus.
Initially, the major issue we used to have was the lack of sufficient accommodation on campus, especially for the males. However, if you have observed carefully, we have about two or three male hostels on campus which include Arafims, Al Maharij and more. Each hostel can accommodate about a thousand and five plus male students. The school is however gender sensitive, making available new hostels for female students too.
We intend to extend these services to students staying off campus but we have not been able to achieve that goal yet, but we are still working on how we will do that also. This is because it has been brought to our notice that some of the hostel landlords off campus do increase the cost of rent on their buildings, making it difficult for students to afford due to the different financial statuses of students.
However, concerning security off campus, as we all know that the the security of life and property is also our concern, we work towards a stronger collaboration with the Nigerian Police Force, specifically the F division patrol teams, other vigilante groups, and community associations to ensure safety and security. So, we have pooled our ideas together as a unit and union to intend to have representatives in all the major hostel outlets off campus.
We are still working on it at the moment.
In addition we must appreciate the efforts of the police force, as studends off campus bear witness to the fact that there are patrols from time to time around the student residential areas. These have been parts of the efforts of the students’ welfare unit in conjunction with the students’ union and the University community at large.
UCJ Unilorin: Transportation problems has been a recurring issue in every administration. Is there anything your administration can do differently to help?
Welfare Sec: Now, let me address the issue of transportation on and off campus. Transportation is one of the major challenges and I must say, we have tried our immense effort to alleviate this and it has reduced. If we could recall, towards the end of last session, we had little or no problems and at the very start of this session, the situation was okay.
However, not until the springing up of the fuel scarcity. It is a national issue but we were able to manage it and it is under control. You can see for yourselves (points at the situation at the park). But we have achieved a lot on this issue and we are not going to stop. The Students’ Union Intervention (150 capacity) for instance, The MST(Maigidi Soludero Transit) only two were allocated to each institution in kwara state but we were able to get six and we pleaded with them to extend their official time from 4p.m to 7p.m. The University Marcopolo, the number of Koropes have increased on campus from about 64 to 100, NAKSS shuttle, Ilorin Emirate transport Scheme, AIT are not left out. In fact, I was at Offa and Osun state to meet with their chairmen.
UCJ Unilorin: Is there any approach or effort of the school management to provide more means of transportation?
Welfare Sec: They are trying their best. The Sudents’ Affairs Unit, Subdean, Mr ‘Ambassador’ (2013 Students’ Union President), for their fatherly advice. Workd departments really help us and really appreciate, the Vice Chancellor. And I’m using this medium to tell the school management to invite more private firm to establish more accommodation on school campus and must not be exorbitant because our financial status differ.
UCJ Unilorin: What message or advice do you have to the students as regards to transportation issue?
Welfare Sec: Let us follow the rules,where there are rules, there is punishment, where there are no rules, there is no penalty. Most students don’t join the queue. This MST glass was broken two days ago and we had to plead before it was settled. (Together we can).
UCJ Unilorin: Thank you very much,Sir. We really appreciate.
Jesulonii & Nurudeen Aisha,