1.1 Background to the study
Tertiary institutions are establishment of higher learning that provides post-secondary education. They aid the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which enable individuals to develop into useful members of the society (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). According to Hornby (1995), tertiary institution provides education for people at higher level. They provide social atmosphere that allows students, administrators and academics alike to enjoy existence and excellence in education. Throughout its history, tertiary institutions have attracted large number of students of different nationalities and backgrounds (Caldenby, 1994). This led to the issue of where and how to house or accommodate the student inhabitants.
Housing is a core component of learning institutions across the globe. It is the totality of the immediate physical environment, largely man-made in which people live and grow (Amole, 2002). It provides space and privacy and also shelters from weather elements and intrusions of unwanted people. It has a profound influence on the health, efficiency, social behaviour, satisfaction and general welfare of people residing in it (Onibokun, 1985). Housing is a component of many variants, one of which is the students housing or hostel, a building with simple accommodation (Amole, 2008).
Students’ housing is part of students’ social life. It has been described as a building that provides accommodation and gives students an option of where to stay. It is a building with simple accommodation (Amole, 2008). It offers security, privacy, adequate space and is meant to fulfil students’ needs and aspirations concerning housing (Najib and Yusof, 2009). It creates heterogeneous setting for social interaction and development. Students housing provides sleeping and living quarters for a large number of people (Susilawati, 2001). It affords students the opportunity to learn how to live independently, cohabit and compromise with other students and roommates, share space and facilities (Bekurs, 2007). Despite the importance of students housing in providing accommodation and promoting social interaction and welfare development among students, hostel accommodation is not given the necessary attention in Nigerian tertiary institutions (Ubong, 2007).
As a result of negligence in the provision of adequate accommodation, students' housing has become a challenge to tertiary institutions authorities in Nigeria. Omotayo (2008) stated that the hostel structures have continued to deteriorate as a result of poor maintenance. The works of George (1999) and Omole (2001) also showed acute student housing problems expressed in both quantitative and qualitative terms. The inability of the university management to increase their accommodation capacity to adequately house the enrolled student population has led to the development of private hostels by profit driven developers in university towns across the country.