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 Landlords versus University of Buea Students

 

   

University of Buea Students Pick Bones with Landlords

By Moki S. Mokondo & Jenifer Diony (UB Student in Journalism and Mass Communication) for Fako News Centre

 

A group of students in the University of Buea, Cameroon, residing at Ndolo Citadela, a boarding house in Molyko, Buea are accusing their landlord of extortion and exploitation. The students are decrying the attitude of the Land Lord who they allege has increased their room rents from FCFA 15,000 to 17,000 against the amount they paid the previous years.The students maintain that with respect to an agreement arrived at involving the authorities of the state: the Divisional Officer for Buea, some landlords, student’s representative and exco-members of the University of Buea Student Union (UBSU) prior to the start of this academic year, their hostel is classified as category “B” with FCFA 12,000 expected to be paid as rents. 

 

       The tenants got into conflict with their host when they tried to mobilise other mates to insist that the decisions arrived at are implemented. Their problem is that the host has not only failed to respect the decision that a room in his hostel should be FCFA 12,000, but has added an extra amount to what they paid  the previous year. While trying to call the attention of the students union, the landlord is reported to have sealed their doors rendering the students roomless. The students added that UBSU’s efforts to bring their landlord to dialogue with them failed. It should be noted here that the students at Ndolo Citadela’s move to challenge their landlords has incited tenants in a neighbouring hostel to stir up for a similar course against their landlords. Talking to Fako News Centre, the UBSU President Marcellius Atanga disclosed that they are working out measures to protect the rights of these students. According to the President, they have intervened in other cases where students and their landlords have been invited in a dialogue with their executives concerning issues of house rents. During such meetings, they educate landlords to understand the plight of the students and that the decisions to reduce house rents for student’s hostel were a unanimous decision between the authorities of the state, the landlords and the students. Mr. Atanga explained that they usually re-visit these hostels to make sure that the agreements are respected. He however disclosed that some fifteen landlords students have summoned to the UBSU Council have been cooperating with them. Although most have failed to respect their invitation to settle problems with their tenants, President Atanga is encouraging students to always call on their attention to such matters. The president also complained that many landlords boycotted the meeting between the students and the state authorities prior to school re-opening around the month of October. 

     It should be noted that the issues between landlords and students have been a long standing issue in Molyko and other university towns. Students are always complaining of exploitation and extortion. Some house owners are reported to be inflating water and electricity bills. They always avoid presenting the original bills from the water or electricity corporation. Instead they present hand written bills to the students. Some take caution fees from their tenants, money they always fail to refund when their tenants are leaving their homes even without any destruction to the homes. To this effect, some students surmised that the state should help the universities construct Halls of Residence. They maintain that if Halls of Residence are constructed in the University of Buea, with a capacity of about a thousand rooms, it would be bad business for this gangstar landlords who would be compelled to reduce their rents since they would have fewer clients. Can one imagine that there is only one Hall of Residence with a capacity to take only one hundred students in the University of Buea!

 

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