When Boluwatife Adefiloye gained admission into Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Ogun State, he was quite worried about the travails of off-campus life. But in the absence of hostels within the school campus, he had no option but to seek accommodation in one of the communities around the school. Narrating his ordeals with his landlord, he explained how he was beaten and sustained an injury over an unpaid electricity bill.
According to him, the landlord demanded an advance electricity bill payment. As he could not provide it, his electricity was disconnected even though he pleaded with him to be patient.
Boluwatife’s experience is similar to the experiences of several other students of the Polytechnic who spoke to Campus Reporter. Due to the huge population of students seeking accommodation in communities such as Oluwo and its environs, students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic and their landlords often disagree on different issues, which often lead to violent faceoff.
With complaints on how their landlords wield ownership power as a weapon over the students, MAPOLY students claimed they are constantly subjected to blackmail and maltreatment, without alternative options for those seeking accommodation.
Corroborating Boluwatife’s claim, Deborah Aderinmola, an eyewitness, explained how her landlord aggressively confronted him (Boluwatife Adefiloye) with machete, bottles, and spiritual chants over the controversial electricity bills.
She stressed that the confrontation was only settled after the police intervened.
On his part, Oreoluwa Tanimowo, an ex–student, narrated how his caretaker and landlord victimised him during his stay in school.
According to him, the first maltreatment occurred once while he washed clothes outside the building, and the caretaker threw their washing bowls and clothes away. In reaction, the students called his bluff, and disagreement ensued.
He also narrated the case of a student who took in a roommate without the caretaker’s permission, and the matter was reported at the Police Station.
“More false allegations were made when we got to the (Police) station. All thanks to our fellow students who live in the area and the SUG president who came to the police station to bail us out,” he lamented.
Sharing her experience, another student, Fatima Elemoro, narrated how her landlord once barged in on her, invading her privacy. In her words, she had just relocated and didn’t know the rules of the house when the landlord reprimanded her for using gas in her room.
“He came inside my room and started shouting at me. I was depressed that day,” she said.
Fatima stated that the landlord repeated the same act with her neighbour, who was cooking with her gas inside her room. However, unlike Fatima, she exchanged words with the landlord and later reported to the police, who got her arrested. The neighbour, who felt offended, later vacated the building.
But while speaking with Campus Reporter, some of the landlords also complained about the demeanours of some of the students.
A landlady in Oluwo, one of the adjoining communities, Chief Mrs Felicia Okeowo, revealed that she often calls the police to arrest students who disobey her rules.
Mrs Okeowo, also known as Iyaloja, mentioned that many students become uncontrollable and disrespectful once they start living in the house, adding that some even beat up other landlords and their wives.
“It is risky to accommodate students; people don’t want to give them their houses to stay anymore because their problems are too much,” she lamented. She, therefore, urged landlords to investigate and know what type of students they take in as tenants.
Another landlord in the community, Mr Yebere Olanrewaju, said issues do occur with his tenants but have never led to violence or evictions. He concluded by saying youth tend to act childishly, but patience is needed between landlords and tenants to live peacefully.
On its part, the Community Development Association (CDA) of the Anuoluwapo area of Abeokuta said students should be well-behaved. According to the CDA chairman, Elder Rufus Oladele, students in the community are obedient.
He said, “We have cordial relationships with the students in this community. We don’t have issues with them. They are doing well.”
Corroborating his claim, the CDA Vice chairman, Chief Kelani Rasheed, said students, generally in the community, are well-behaved, adding that “the restrictions given to them are followed in accordance.”
However, students of the institution have urged the school management and Student Union Government, SUG, to proffer a lasting solution to the perennial feuds between landlords and students.
A student living in the Anuoluwapo area of Oluwo in Abeokuta, Soliu Shukroh, urged the management and SUG to work proactively on the lingering issue.
In her words, students face unnecessary eviction from their houses by their landlords, leaving them stranded amid uncertainties.
She recounted an incident when her landlord sent a National Diploma 2 (ND2) student parking without prior notice because she left for her Internship program. She also stressed that students tend to be affected academically by these controversies, as some landlords don’t allow students to read in groups during the examination periods.
She, therefore, called on the management to actively work to curb the rising incidents of feuds among the landlord and students issues by providing hostels on campus.
Speaking on how often she bails students out from police stations, the Association of Mass Communication Students’ president, Akorede Alimot, said she received numerous reports in the last few months in office.
According to her, she has become a regular visitor at police stations, as cases of landlord and student feuds occur often.
Therefore, she urged the management and state government to utilise the school land to build hostels and occasionally meet with landlords/CDA members to resolve lingering issues among landlords and students.
However, all efforts to contact the SUG President, Adeola Babatunde, proved abortive. Several text messages and calls put across to his known telephone number have yet to be responded to.
On his part, the spokesperson of the Ogun State Police Command, Omolola Odutola, said the command has not received cases of rifts or violence between students and their landlords. “I receive several cases, I am yet to come across Landlords and Student matters talk less of maltreating them,” she said.
The institution’s Public Relations Officer, Yemi Ajibola, acknowledged the prevalence of the problems, including the exploitation of students by caretakers and landlords, among other controversies.
However, Ajibola highlighted the school’s efforts to mitigate conflicts, such as introducing forms for landlords and students and creating communication channels with the police.
In his words, the school cannot accommodate all its students, but the management is taking necessary steps to provide affordable campus hostels.
“Efforts are on to provide hostels on campus. There are two or three investors that have contacted the Polytechnic to build hostels on campus,” he said. Therefore, he urged students to report any exploitation or mistreatment to the management.
The following students from the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) authored the story:
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