Among prof James Epoke’s first duties on resumption as University of Calabar (UNICAL) Vice Chancellor (VC) was the renovation of toilets.
He changed the toilets’ materials and installed water systems in some of them.
But the toilets have been shut since February 28, following the cleaners’ sack. The management said it could no longer keep them as part-time staff. CAMPUSLIFE gathered that the cleaners were paid N10,000 monthly.
Their closure has forced students, who read in classrooms at night, to pass excreta indiscriminately. To many of them, areas around the classrooms serve as toilets. CAMPUSLIFE discovered a spot at the New Art Theatre messed up with urine.
A 300-Level student of History and International Studies, Cynthia Ando, said: “It is very frustrating to come to school and start to see public toilets under lock and key.”
John Etido, a 200-Level Management Science student, said many are now forced to walk a long distance before they can use the toilet.
Charity Enung, another student, said she prefers to use the public toilet in the academic area to the one in her hostel, which, she said, is always messy. But, with the public toilets shut, Charity has been compelled to use the “dirty” lavatory in her hostel.
Other spots reeking of urine include alleys around Abraham Ordia Stadium, New Library, Natural Science Lecture Theatre (NSLT) 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Those who sweep the classrooms and surroundings are not happy with the development. They described the students’ behaviour as “very bad”. A sweeper, who simply identified herself as Florence, said: “We don’t understand why students urinate everywhere they see when they have toilets in their hostels. The other day, I picked up a sanitary pad along the corridor. Why should girls be so careless in disposing such a material? Students should know that some of us are old enough to be their parents.”
On why the school toilets were shut, a former cleaner, who gave her name as Mrs Idiongesit, said: “We were sacked by the management. They told us to stop working with them since February. That was why we stopped working. They said they don’t want us again because we are not staff. They want to employ full staff. They asked us to leave and we all left.”
A cleaner, who works at Political Science Department, told CAMPUSLIFE: “Initially, we were working as part-time staff before the school management said they did not want part-time workers any longer. They asked us to leave. But, after a period, some of us were recalled and we have been fully employed. Others have not yet returned.”
On their return, they met the toilets messed up. Madam Margaret, a cleaner, said: “We discovered some students broke into the toilets and defecated indiscriminately till the toilets became messed up. The excreta could not be flushed away because the sewers were blocked. The students used all manners of paper to clean up. I don’t know why some students will be so heartless. We reported the development to the authorities.”
While some of the toilets have been re-opened, others are still locked. When our correspondent visited toilets between Pavilion 2 and 3, the doors and burglaries were locked.
For the disengaged cleaners, it has been a tale of woes. One of them, who gave her name as Mrs Adams, said she was owed 10 months salary before her dismissal. “I beg the people in charge to pay us. They said they will pay us but we are still waiting on them,” she said. (The Nation).