By: Toluwalope Ayeye
For the first time in more than six months, I took a walk along the road that led from Queen Idia hall to Obafemi Awolowo hall. You can imagine my surprise when I saw a gas station just opposite Abdusalami Abubakar hall. The first thing that came to my mind was ‘Ope oh’, no more kerosene. I began pondering if the school management was planning on letting us use gas stoves in place of the normal kerosene stoves we were using.
Seeing that Kerosene had become very expensive, and there is a gas station nearby 4 school hostels, I started to ask myself some questions after the resumption. ‘Are those in the school hostel supposed to go back to using Kerosene stoves to make their meals? Or was the university’s authority going to let us switch to an alternative?’
The matter – of whether students can use hotplates and gas stoves – was tabled to the management, and the feedback the students got crushed our hopes. Students are not allowed to use hot plates or gas stoves. The reason – according to the management – is understandable and reasonable. In the case of hot plates, using them would cause a considerable increase in the school’s electricity bill. So what about gas stoves?
Gas stoves have, for a while, been contrabands in the school-owned hostels for one main reason: some students can be pretty careless. I’m not throwing away this reason; it is quite the solid one. However, still compared to the other circumstances, its validity does not hold much ground. Already, everyone knows gas stoves can save more time and energy, so we won’t be diving into it.
Kerosene has become scarce and very expensive, so much so that it is referred to as modern-day gold. Despite this, we have no choice but to buy it. Sometimes, students have to walk as far as Keto, the filling station after the second gate, to get kerosene for N850 per liter. The only other alternative is to buy it for N1, 000 per liter from their hostels. Of course, going to these places does not necessarily mean they’d get the kerosene. If the students insistently have to use a kerosene stove for cooking, then it would be better if provisions are made to make it accessible.
It is quite frankly, not cool that students, mostly adults, are not trusted enough to use gas stoves. My friend had said this in passing, but it didn’t mean that it hadn’t stuck with me since. The youngest student admitted into the school is admitted at age 16, and even though some freshers are age 16, they only make up a percentage of the students in the hostels. There are stalites and finalists who have since passed the age of 16.
Of course, age has nothing to do with carelessness. One thing I think we should note is whether or not, students are still at risk of accidents caused by careless people. Gone are the days when we lived by “if a finger is dipped in oil, it stains the others too”. Subjecting the majority to such because of the carelessness of a minority does not seem fair.
As mentioned earlier, we understand the fears and apprehensions of the school concerning the use of gas stoves in school hostels. However, this doesn’t change that they are one of the best options for students. Not only do gas stoves save time and energy, but they also save considerable costs for students. The economy is getting worse, Kerosene price keeps increasing and it has nothing to do with the students.