The worst thing, for me that can happen to any student of Unilag is that he/she be a squatter. For non-akokaites who might not be familiar with the semantical use of the term squatter- we use it to refer to students who live in hostels not allocated to them by the dean of students affairs, they are not legal residents of the hall and only live there because a legal resident of that hall has decided to accommodate them. These legal residents are called bonafides. squatters are usually more in numbers than bonafides because in a room for example- all the bonafides may have at least one squatter each. And this applies to all the halls of residence on campus- both male and yes female.
squatters often sleep on the floor or mats but some are lucky enough to get beds via some shady deals that involves money exchanging hands. Some squatters with benevolent hosts share bed with them.
You see the relationship between squatters and the school management is a cat and mouse game. The school management knows fully well that there are squatters in the halls, but they pretend as if they don’t. The population of squatters remain high because there are not enough bed spaces in the halls to go round so only a fraction of students end up getting hostel allocation.
However, truth be told there exist a category of students- in the minority though who relish the ”squatter life” . These ones would rather sell their bed space ( if they get one) than pay for it and reside in halls as legal occupants. They are in the minority though, like I said. Now as a squatter in any of the halls in Unilag, you must be on good terms with the Porter of the hall and more importantly the security men at the gate. You must hail the security with appellations like ”my oga” ”chairman”, ”boss” just to massage his ego and make him feel important. If you see a guy or girl that is always friendly with the security? Forget it, he or she is a squatter. The security probably has a primary school certificate and yourself an undergraduate but because he holds the key to your entering the hall or otherwise he’s a force to reckon with- so you must respect him.
Being on good terms means bribing him with money from time to time. It is better to give him before he asks, and cheaper too. This is because when he asks he’s probably broke so he becomes aggressive and that means you’ll pay higher. If you’re the stubborn type and you refuse to pay he’d simply lock you out and there is nothing you can do. Only the bonafides can go in and out of hall without worrying about security.
Aside the constant intimidation and harassment by security, one other problem squatters face is that they get blamed for everything. A fire incident? Blame the squatters! Noise making at odd hours? Blame the squatters!, phones or laptops go missing? Squatters are responsible- no need for investigation. Squatters are guilty the only reason being- that they are squatters.
Some students however live with all these and are back the next session;
PS; Don’t ask if the writer is a squatter