If any OAU Student were asked to choose which was better, between being sucked to death by losing blood or losing foodstuffs to rats every night; a typical OAU student will rather go for the latter. At least it is better, losing foodstuffs to the destructive tendencies of rats since they will surely respond to poison where fumigation of bed bugs is irresponsive.
The recent infestation of bed bugs and the clamor by affected students of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University is one situation stronger than the cry of hunger from the camps of IDPS or Meningitis pandemonium as history persists to knock on the door when only two years ago, on the 29th September 2015, the University of Lagos was shut down by students due to the influx of bedbugs, rendering habitation on Campus hazardous.
For Dahunsi Paui, a 500-level Medical Rehabilitation student of the College of Health Sciences of the Obafemi Awolowo University, it was a rosy welcome to the embers of the institution widely renowned for learning and culture, on the eve of his resumption that those heinous insects struck.
He was quoted thus: “this bedbug rise is really bad! I came back to school just to lie back on the bed and I felt a bite on my neck! I stood up immediately to see bedbugs! The school should do something about it.”
While others might think there maybe be redemption for the extermination of bedbugs in the various Halls of Residences in the institution, Praise Moses, a 300-level student of the Faculty of Arts and Olabode Tokunbo, a 300 level student of Sociology and Anthropology department beg to differ.
“There were days I had to go to academics to sleep, just because of bedbugs. My friends in ETF hall used (Not sure about now though) to go to other rooms to sleep. Everywhere is infested; even God cannot save us because OAU is too filthy for him. Only a meticulous cleanup of the hostels will do,” Praise added.
Tokunbo while narrating his experience stated that the fear of bedbugs is the beginning of wisdom. “Personally,” He stated, “during my part 2 first semester, I could recall how I was incessantly falling ill unknown to me that it was as a result of bedbug usually coming to feed on me while I was having my sweet siesta, meanwhile I always thought it was malaria as a result of mosquitoes. Fast forward to second semester part 2, and I can count how many nights I passed in my room for the fear of bedbug. And it’s that same reason amongst others for my failing to resume but I have no option than to just resume.”
The bedbug infestation has continued to generate several reactions from both fresh and stale students alike. Many students have continued to beckon on the management to find lasting solutions to the menace, as well as construct new hostels and properly fumigate its bushy environments. Lawal Ayobami Victor has blamed the management of the institution of irresponsiveness whilst urging other students to engage in a solidarity stance in bettering the adverse welfare conditions.
“Let people take some level of responsibility if the management is refusing to do something. After all, it’s not the management that those things are biting. In Nigeria, University management has seized to be in existence in matters relating to students’ welfare, but they are just there for other reasons- Pocket infrastructure.”
While Ayobami Victor is not wrong in terms of his contribution as he nursed his grievances on the issue long overdue; strong indications from the past are sure to resurface again if care isn’t taken to avoid history repeating itself over and over again.