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UDUS’s students seek end to hemp smoking in private hostel

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Students have lamented that a private hostel inside Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) has become a den of hemp smokers. They are calling on school authorities to look into the matter and bring sanity to the place, reports ABDULWAHEED SOFIULLAHI (UDUS)

Abdulrazak Abdul Moheez, a 200- Level student of Biology, coughs at intervals for some few minutes of his conversation with this reporter. He attempted to  clear his throat of phlegm to no avail. Illness makes him submissive to discomfort in his room. His nose is cupped with a handkerchief, saving his breath from the acrid smell of marijuana.

The young man didn’t bargain for such an uncomfortable life when he gained admission into Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. He  is a victim of smoke at his rented apartment. He has started to regret living in Gidan Fati, a private hostel beside the university.

At Gidan Fati, living has become unbearable for students. The rooms are uncomfortable, especially during the hot weather in Sokoto. Though the houses are very small, there is no room for ventilation. But for  students who could not secure bed spaces  in the school hostel, there is no better place for them.

Speaking with CAMPUSLIFE, Abdul Moheez recounted his experience with  villagers, mostly young boys, who almost killed him with marijuana smoke.

“Marijuana smokers have almost killed me. Every minute is celebration for them, their smoking starts in the morning and ends at night. They smoke openly. Nothing is hidden; everything happens before my eyes. Disappointingly, there is no one to challenge them or move to report them,” he said.

He also noted that his health had deteriorated and other students in the hostel had been finding it difficult to cope with the terrible conditions of the hostel.

“Every night, when coming back from class, I usually see them in groups smoking weed. The  sharp smell of the smoke is suffocating, it affects us inside our rooms; we cannot do anything about it,” he said.

Danger of living outside school hostel

Before now, students living at Gidan Fati had fought the villagers  on the issue of water.  When this happened, it took the intervention of the school management before things got back to  normal.

Khalifa Muhammad, a 100-Level  Mathematics student, is uncomfortable and depressed at the situation.

He said: “The only problem we are having at  present is that we are affected by the activities of those boys. They smoke so hard that we develop cough as you can see.

“I feel uncomfortable and unhappy about the situation. When I arrived here, one of those boys  wanted to move closer to me but I refused because of their bad habit. They smoke all the time  at the front of our hostel.”

For Muhammad Mu’asu, a 100-Level  Biology student, the caretaker has refused to call the smokers to order, noting that nobody could control them.

” Our caretaker said we don’t have any power on them. And I personally hate the smell of marijuana. I pray the right decision is taken  because they are disturbing our peace,” he said.

Ayinla Faezudeen, a 200-Level student while decrying the situation, said: “The way they are treating us is terrible. Smoking is dangerous to their health, just as it is harmful to us inhaling the smoke. lt is sad. If the school management intervenes, the  outcome  should favour students and the smokers. If the management speaks with their parents and they are able to caution them not to smoke either at the front of our hostel or anywhere, it would be great.”

Habeebullahi Zakariya, a 200-Level Business Administration student, wants school authorities to checkmate the activities of the hemp smokers.

He said: “I want the school management to please come and talk to them to stop smoking marijuana at the front of our  hostel.  We already  complained about this  last semester.”

Another student, Jimoh Taofeeq, said: “I do not think our management can stop them because it is a private hostel.  It is  not our fault for staying there. We apply for hostel space every year but  they do not  allocate bed spaces to us. Hence,  we stay at a private hostel. I pray the authorities to stop them from smoking at the front of our hostel. We have no power to stop them.”

For Kamaldeen Ismaila, a 100-Level student, ignorance has made those young boys unrepentant smokers, hence, he wants them to be enlightened on the dangers of marijuana.

“I suggest the smokers be enlightened on the side effects and damages that marijuana can cause to their health.

“Marijuana is dangerous to health, we all know that. At night, it is difficult to spend five minutes at the front of our hostel, the smoke  would force us in again. Even during the dry season, we usually sleep outside and most of us used to forcefully stay inside  despite the heat,” he said.

Abdullah Adebayo, a 300 level Statistics  student, lamented that the hostel environment is unsafe because of those scary and dangerous smokers.

” Those boys who  smoke  at the front of our private hostel are very scary and dangerous to be with. Whenever I am going for lectures, I pray against meeting them outside to avoid inhaling smoke. But that has proved impossible because I meet them early in the morning likewise in the evening when  coming back.

“I wish the school management should intervene  and call their  attention; enlighten them on the  negative effect of what they’re smoking to their bodies. Also, the environment, most especially we students, are not save. They should warn them that if they ignore their speech nobody among them will be allowed to stay around that private hostel again.”

Taofeeq Garuba, another student, said: “We have to call the attention of management to this situation for our safety. Those boys could be dangerous. If nothing is done urgently, then we are in danger. They are not to be trusted  because they may harm students and rob them of valuables.”

Ibrahim Muazu, a 200 level Economics student, said apart from smoking marijuana,the boys also move around with dangerous weapons like sword and cutlass. He, however, called on the management to expedite action and get rid of them.

“Some of those smokers also walk around with harmful things like knife, cutlass and sword and other harmful things, that is not proper because it is a school environment. They could misbehave anytime and harm students with  those things. Although we have not experienced any  attack, we do not want such to happen, hence, we want the management to  intervene and get rid of them.

“Inhaling smoke is also not good for our health, so taking urgent action on the issue is very important,” he said.

Caretaker to take action

The caretaker who pleaded anonymity  noted that he had warned them to stop smoking marijuana at the front of  the  private hostel, but they refused. He, however, noted that he would take an action on the matter.

The caretaker said:  “I really appreciate this good observation. I have warned them before. I cannot hide the truth. I will report them to their parents. I will meet them again and warn them to stop smoking marijuana at the front of students’ private hostel. And if they refuse, I will take a decision because nobody is above the law. I urge the students not to meet those smokers themselves, I will handle the case myself.”

 School management unaware

The school’s Chief Security Officer, Col. Abdullahi Gwandu (retd) said: “I am not   aware of the situation. Since you said  some boys are smoking marijuana at the front of the private hostel at Gidan Fati, I need to go there and confirm it. The problem can only be resolved when school resumes.”

Effects of marijuana

Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica plant. The plant contains  mind-altering chemicals and other similar compounds.

Experts have warned that marijuana causes breathing problems. Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and people who smoke marijuana frequently can have the same breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections. Also, it can increase  heart rate. Marijuana increases heartbeat for up to three hours after smoking. This effect may increase the chance of heart attack, they said.

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