Living Beyond Your Means; Campus Lifestyle

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Amina Muhammad Sabo

“The way you dress, so you shall be addressed”. This is true considering the fact that dressing signifies and off course communicates different messages. That is, wearing different clothes could mean different things. For instance, it could be an indication of a person’s gender, income, occupation, social class, political, ethnic, religion affiliation, attitude toward comfort, fashion, traditions, gender expression, marital status, sexual availability and sexual orientations. Clothes could also convey some social massages such as claiming personal or defying social group norms and appreciating comfort and functionality.

The concept of “dressing” and “dressing code”, the messages different clothes convey, and how it applied to different people and different culture and society had been variously described and documented by different scholars. Therefore, I will not dwell much on that since there are ample literatures available to understand the concept.

What is worrisome here is the rampant level of indecent dressing among students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This is more pronounced among female than male. One may ask, what are the factors responsible for this behavious? What is so appreciable about it that virtually all ladies cannot do without? What messages does indecent dressing communicate that decent dress doesn’t?  However, a series of interviews conducted with some students of Bayero University, Kano by this writer produced comprehensive answers to those questions.

A level 200, Amina Ibrahim of Department of Theater and Film Studies believes that some female students engage in indecent dressing only when they get to higher institutions and she added that most of these ladies do that as part of their effort to attract opposite sex and thereby to generate resources to leave beyond their means

“Some students don’t dress abnormal at home because it’s not acceptable (at home). And they dress like that purposely to generate materials from attracted opposite sex so to leave the way their friends leave”.

In her own, Benjamin Devine of Sociology Department holds an opinion that it’s not all ladies that dress indecently that are really indecent, argued that some ladies are actually raised to dress that way.

“Some students dress that way just because it has become their way of life. They were raised in that manner. It is not everybody that dress decently that actually decent. And it not also fair to conclude that all ladies that dress indecently are actually indecent”.

Olatunji Jumoke, a 400 level student of Chemistry Department also subscribed to Devine’s arguments when she opined that what seem to be indecent dressing in one culture or society may not be indecent in another society.

Halimo Yusuf of Mass Communication Department said, though majority of ladies dress indecently “to attract men”, some students of higher institutions dress that way only for fun. She further argued that “some students dress to attract and seduce lecturers, and some dress to attract big men who can provide them with sufficient materials and financial capability to feel belong”.

However, it is in this regard that I give kudos to the management of Bayero University for the measure put in place to minimize indecent dressing in the campus. In Bayero University, different communication packages such as Billboard had been adopted and strategically placed in some spots in three university campuses to engage students with the acceptable dressing manners in the University.

Indecent dressings are so taking serious in Bayero University that how you dress is part of your entrance prerequisites to the school library, lecture rooms and exam theaters. This is to say to some extent, Bayero University Kano has able to control the dressing pattern of its students. Therefore, I advise all other institutions in Nigeria to humiliate the BUK in fighting against indecent dressing in our institutions of learning.


Amina Muhammad Sabo,

400 level student of Bayero University, Kano.


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