Barely five weeks after the resumption of Federal Universities, students of Federal University Oye Ekiti, FUOYE, bemoan the shortage of shuttle buses, an unprecedented hike in transportation fares and extortion by transporters in Oye Local Government. Olamide Omotayo reports.
Since the inception of the Federal University Oye Ekiti, FUOYE, in 2011, transportation within the community has been nothing to write home about as students always struggle to get buses and tricycles, also known as Keke Maruwa to convey them on and off campus.
However, reports gathered by this reporter revealed that the transportation challenges bedevilling the students took a new turn three years ago, which has lingered till now.
This has left a toll on many students, especially the new intakes, who are now in dire straits due to the transportation challenges rocking the institution.
FUOYE Students Lament
After the suspension of the ASUU strike, Fuoye announced the immediate resumption of academic activities for fresh and returning students for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 sessions in a memo released on the 17th of October, 2022.
The University Senate approved two academic sessions –the second semester of the 2020/2021 academic session and the first semester of the 2021/2022 academic session, which would be run simultaneously.
This, therefore, allegedly contributed to the extortion by transporters and spiral hike in transport fares due to the overpopulation of the students.
In an interview with this reporter, a 300-level student of Business Administration, Timothy Adegoke, said the transportation issue has affected his participation in class.
“The experience has been a horrible one. The bike men and taxi drivers have been quite inconsiderate. Their greediness is causing us a lot of inconvenience. I stay along school road, but it is disheartening that I struggle hard to get myself to school all because the drivers are not ready to collect N50. This has affected my punctuality in school.
“Besides, my present concern is about the approaching exam. How do we want to cope with this level of hardship? It’s high time the school management looked into the transportation affairs of the students. We can’t keep going this way.
“FUOYE is admitting a huge number of students. There should be provisions as regards important things like this,” he said.
Similarly, a 300l student of Mass Communication, Peace Oladipo, bemoaned the institution’s disposition to their plight, saying, “I feel like they want to make the money they were unable to make during the strike. It has been torture as I have to beg, cajole the transporters because of their irrational and inconsiderate decisions.
“The school management should stand against this extortion. I believe they can regularize the payment if they want to. The school management and the student unions should meet the transporters, that is the Okadas and drivers, to impose a regulation on their prices.”
Also, a 300l Political science student, Aisha Adeniyi, said: “If things go like this, many things will get spoilt. I am tired of queuing under the scorching sun because of a cab. Not even the case of a so-called comrade delaying us from entering a cab shouting greatest Nigeria student.
She added: “The way we run after buses on the main road or perch on a car in motion is dangerous. Many trek long distances and wouldn’t be able to do anything for the day due to health issues.”
Likewise, Ojo Abiodun, a 200-level Mass Communication student, decried the shortage of shuttle buses, describing the situation as “horrible” and “saddening.”
Her words: “Imagine coming from the lecture, tired and hungry and yet couldn’t find a means of transportation. Or staying close to an hour before you can see a vehicle to convey you to your destination. I don’t know how to describe the situation, but it’s such a heartbreaking case to resume into a lecture-filled and yet scarce means of transportation.”
Similarly, A 200-level student of Mass Communication, Precious Omotosho, said: “The meeting the student union Government had with the Indigenes of Oye wasn’t a success because they are not following the agreement made with the student union of the school. They are exhorting students.
“From phase 2, they only convey students going to Idofin, Irare because those areas are N100. They don’t take the school junction and school road again.”
A 200-level student who pled anonymity alleged that the school management is money driven owing to the approvement of two academic sessions concurrently.
“The school isn’t representing the interest of the students. They know that overpopulating the school environment will definitely amount to hardship for the student. No lecture halls, you will have to squeeze yourself into a seat or stand throughout a two-hour lecture, especially during general classes, and after having been in school from 8 am to 4 pm, you will still have to trek to your respective hostels again.
*This is insane and unbearable. I have been in school since morning, and now I’m trekking home I live around SY8.
“If this continues, I’m afraid many will break down completely,” he said.
Abiola Olusola Titilayo, a 400-level student of Microbiology, said the shortage of buses within Oye has compelled the students to miss classes and impromptu tests, which always affects their CGPA
“This has caused so much delay in getting to school. Sometimes, you miss some lectures and impromptu tests due to getting to school late.”
Oluwaseyi Babalola, a 400-level Mechanical Engineering student, condemned motorists’ extortion, saying he doesn’t yield to the extortion.
According to him, “When someone says N100, sometimes, I look him in the face and flash N50 to them, and they will pick it from their cars, if they don’t want, that’s their business, and I will walk away.
“If a bike man doesn’t want to collect N100, I will pocket the money and walk away until he asks me to come and give him. It’s very simple, these things have been sorted out by the school, and now we are the ones to make sure that we do not comply with the extortions by the motorists.”
Potoki Ayobami, a 200-level Mass Communication student, urged the student union to reschedule meetings with the transporters for effective regulation of the transport fares.
His words: “I think the school authority should allow the Student Union to engage in several meetings with drivers and bike men to agree on a fixed price and with the way they address the students. A fixed price and rules should be presented, and anyone who goes against it should be punished.”
A 200-level student of Biochemistry who identified herself as Omowumi urged the school to provide adequate buses to enhance the effective transportation of the students on and off the school campus.
“The school authority should provide our own school buses and employ drivers because these drivers believe we don’t have a choice or reliable alternative, which is why they’re adamant about the prices of transportation.
“A driver will strongly refuse to put on board students going to school junction just because he’s not ready to take N50 or N70 and would rather have students going to Idofin Irare because he can boldly charge N100,” she said.
Student Union Government Intervention
The Students’ Union Government, under the auspices of its President, Salaudeen Teslim, had a meeting on the 31st of October 2022 after a series of meetings with the drivers and okada drivers.
The meeting held in Oye Local Government Secretariat was based on the lingering hike in transportation fares, which had in attendance, Oloye in council, the honourable Chairman of Oye local government, and the DSS, among others.
A statement signed by the union confirmed that it had reached a compromise with the transporters, including the okada riders.
The statement reads: “Today, the leadership of the union attended a community meeting in Oye Local Government Secretariat regarding transportation fares, a meeting that lasted for hours.
“In attendance was Oloye in council, the honourable Chairman of Oye Local Government, the DSS, Oye DPO, and leadership of the transportation workers, among other concerned stakeholders. Below is the resolution:
“Falex – Phase 2 – N50. Transformer/ School road – Phase 2 – N50. School junction- Phase 2 – N70. UBA/Idofin/Irare – Phase 2 – N100
The union further stated that UBA is the last bus stop in contrast to the Bet 9ja area.
It said: “Also, we met with the association of Okada Riders as the status quo is being maintained:
“Thus, Junction – gate remains N100 per person and N150 for 2 people.”
Meanwhile, some students alleged that the union did not caution the transporters against extorting the students, especially the fresh students.
A 300l Criminology and Security Studies who preferred not to have his name on print alleged that the union did not have a good transportation structure
“The main problem we have is that the so-called Students’ Union Government doesn’t have a good transportation structure. I wonder how the transport union will be dictating for the whole body of the Union. That’s so disappointing.”
However, all efforts made by this reporter to reach the SUG president on the allegation went through as he did not reply to the text message or picked up his calls, nor did he return them.
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