FG Worried over Shortage of Hostel Accommodation in Tertiary Institutions

Okon Bassey in Uyo

Worried by the shortage of hostel accommodation in Nigerian tertiary institutions, the federal government is to build 1, 600-bed capacity hostels for students in tertiary institutions.

According to the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, the federal government has earmarked N98.2billion for the provision of modern 1,600-bed capacity hostels for students in tertiary institutions across the country this year.

He disclosed this at the foundation laying ceremony for a 1,600-bed capacity hostel initiated by African Plus Partners in partnership with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), at the Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpadem, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of the state.

Edun, who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Mr. Udo Ekanem, said the project which would be replicated in 36 tertiary institutions across the six geo political zones of the country is aimed at tackling deficit in hostel accommodation for students.

The minister stressed that the facility will improve reading and learning culture among students, and lauded the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno for his commitment to educational advancement in the state.

Eun equally lauded the partnership between the Family Plus Partners and TETFUND, pointing out that the engagement led to the initiative of providing the facility.

He canvassed support for President Bola Tinubu in his quest to lay a strong foundation for the development of Nigeria especially in education sector.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of TETFUND, Sonny Echono, said the Fund would spend N72billion for the building of modern hostels in tertiary institutions across the country in the next two years.

Echono applauded its partners in the project, African Plus Partners and Family Home Funds, for their commitment and drive towards providing conducive residence for undergraduates to boost innovative learning and research.

The executive secretary commended successive governors of the state for effective partnership with the federal government, and promised that more of such projects would be done in the institution as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.

Also speaking, the state Governor, Umo Eno, represented by the Education Commissioner, Mrs. Idongesit Etiebet, lauded the initiators of the hostel project for the efforts to boost learning environment for students.

Eno, who maintained that the measure of growth of any society is represented by investment in education, said the state government has continued to pay deep attention especially to education at the foundation level to enable students develop their potentials early enough.

The state government, the governor said, has been working in order to meet the challenges of the state-owned higher institutions by making investment in infrastructure and paying bursary to indigenous students in all public tertiary institutions across the country.

The Vice Chancellor of Akwa Ibom State University, Prof.  Nse Essien, in his speech, regretted that lack of suitable accommodation has affected the living conditions of students, posed a security threat to them while candidates have continued to prefer other institutions that provide accommodation as their first choice, denying the school the opportunity to admit students to fill it capacity.

He said: “This challenge has also given competing institutions an edge over us irrespective of the fact that our academic standard and facilities are one of the best in Nigeria.

“This new facility will not only address the critical need for student accommodation but will foster a stronger sense of community and belonging among our students and also create opportunities that would be beneficial to the host community.”

The Managing Director of Africa Plus Partners, Mr. Adeniran Ajakaiye, in his introductory remark said the company initiated the project when it discovered that gap in hostel accommodation in Nigeria has been in excess of 80 percent.

This, Ajakaiye said, constituted danger to the students because such conditions could not offer them adequate protection and a good reading and learning culture and environment.

“And that is why we at African Plus Partners have carefully curated an accommodation scheme to cater to approximately 40,000 students in tertiary institutions across the country and this is in tandem with our desire to enable students focus on reading than living,” the MD said.

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