Addressing The Longstanding Issue of Subpar Restroom Conditions in the Faculty of Arts: A Call for Action


Agnes Oyedokun

For semesters on end, students in the Faculty of Arts have faced persistent inconveniences due to the subpar state of their restrooms. Despite ongoing discussions and inquiries, no significant improvement has materialized, leaving students to grapple with these issues each semester. These challenges include water shortages and unclean restrooms, particularly in the mornings. The toilets meant to be places of privacy and hygiene, have instead become breeding grounds for filth and discomfort.

“It has been like this for as long as I can remember,” says John Adeniji, a third-year student in the Department of English. “The stench hits you as soon as you walk in, and it’s a gamble whether you’ll find a usable toilet, let alone one with running water.” John’s experience is echoed by many students, painting a grim picture of overflowing bins, malfunctioning fixtures, and a general lack of cleanliness.

The issue is not just about how fine the toilets look on the outside, the lack of proper sanitation poses a significant health risk. Unsanitary toilets can harbour bacteria and viruses that can lead to various illnesses, impacting the health and well-being of students. This concern is amplified by the lack of readily available handwashing facilities in some restrooms, further compromising hygiene standards.

For too long, students have voiced their concerns about the deteriorating state of the toilets in our faculty. Complaints have echoed through the corridors, highlighting the inconvenience caused by the absence of flushing water and the subsequent unpleasantness that mars this essential aspect of school life. Last week, the student Executives themselves took matters into their own hands by cleaning the restrooms and organizing a cleaning campaign to tackle the filth themselves.

The Executives’ actions have sparked a debate about accountability and responsibility. While some laud their initiative, others question why the faculty management has not taken decisive action to address the problem. Are the cleaning staff failing to fulfil their responsibilities adequately? Why is there a lack of water in restrooms when it should be available? When can we expect an end to this distressing situation? Is it fair to place the blame solely on students for the unsanitary facilities?

Regular water shortages make flushing toilets an unpredictable gamble, leaving behind unpleasant surprises for unsuspecting users. Bins are often overflowing with waste, creating an unsightly and unsanitary environment. Floors may be sticky with spills, and surfaces might lack proper cleaning. Leaky faucets, malfunctioning dispensers, and broken toilet seats add to the overall sense of disrepair and contribute to the unpleasant experience. The combination of overflowing bins, unflushed toilets, and inadequate ventilation creates a persistent and unpleasant odour that permeates the restrooms and even spills out into the surrounding corridors and lecture halls.

The buzz surrounding the Faculty of Arts executives repeatedly cleaning toilets has sparked considerable reactions due to its unexpected nature.

Oyewole Christopher Airbolt, the Director of Socials and Welfare, explained the motives behind the sanitation efforts undertaken by executives, despite the prevailing belief by all that cleaning toilets is not within their responsibilities.

He said, “I so much believe that the condition has changed when compared to before. Myself and the sanitation committee have been ensuring the cleanliness of the toilets by washing the toilets on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on their availability. We wash the toilets to ensure cleanliness as it is very paramount to me as the social director. Getting water has been an issue since last session, but when I got into office, I went to see the porters in charge of pumping the water, we had a conversation and they yielded to what we discussed. Washing the toilets has been effective and it is just to maintain the hygiene of the toilets. The cleaners have been very supportive and active, they ensure cleanliness. Whenever the cleaners are not around and there is a foul smell, I wash.”

The attempts to reach the Faculty’s management (the Sub-dean) proved unsuccessful, making it challenging to gather his perspective on this ongoing issue.

Furthermore, access to clean and functional restrooms should not be a privilege but a fundamental right. While the responsibility for maintaining clean and functional restrooms primarily rests with the university administration, students can also play a role. This includes using restrooms responsibly, reporting any issues promptly, and advocating for improvements through appropriate channels. Resolving the sanitation crisis in our faculty requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders. It is a chance for lecturers, students, staff members, and managers of the facilities to collaborate and establish a setting that embodies the importance we place on hygiene, well-being, and health.

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