FG Refusal to Pay Stipend Force Federal Scholarship Beneficiaries to Prostitution, Menial Jobs, Abroad
Federal Scholarship Board’s owing of beneficiaries stipends started about 45-years ago but unfortunately it has been worst in the past two years under the watch of Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The board led by Mrs. Fatima Jiddun Ahmad is currently owing 2016/2017 sets for 18 months. The last time they were paid was in December, 2017 for pay of April to June of the same year. This amount to a whopping sum of $9,500 (N3,240,000) each.
It is an incontrovertible fact that the board has been massively corrupt in recent years under the tutelage of an anti-corruption government, what an irony. One may ask how the ministry spends the education budget for 2017 and 2018. So much is definitely happening behind the scene.
In simpler term, I will use the 2017/2018 beneficiaries in Morocco as a case study.
Ordinarily according to schedule, the scholars of nations that reached a Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) all over the world with Morroco are to assembled in the French Institute by September 2017 but as usual the country did not take them over on time, not until 5-months later in February 2018. Although the students were given a 3months stipend from home which amounted to $1,500 but the delay denied the students access to free hostel in the language institute which gravely affected their French study negatively and do more damages to their budgets.
They ended up spending the cash meant for upkeep on rented apartments out of the school and transportation to and fro on a daily basis. This is obviously avoidable if we’ve done the right thing as a nation.
Furthermore, apart from the $1500 given for the first 3-months, the students have not received a dime from the FSB including the yearly $200 health insurance and $250 warm clothing allowance.
The FG even informed the students in December, when they made part payment to 2016/17 set that beneficiaries should not expect the health insurance and warm clothing allowance for the year and that they can’t pay the 2017/18 set any stipend for now. But why? There was no answer.
By so doing, the 2017/18 beneficiaries are being owed from May 2018, that is 8-months stipends amounting to $4,000 (N1,440,000) each.
Meanwhile, the new set have to pay for another costly apartments and transportation in the city where the main course is located since they left the French class half-knowledged. No thanks to officials’ lack of organisation and non-challant attitude to what matters.
An MMBS degree scholar who prefer to remain anonymous told Nigeria Daily Times correspondence of the physical and psychological suffering and hardship they have to battle with on a daily basis in order to survive. He said:
Seriously our situation here is critical, some students are trekking to school, our situation is very very bad, I can’t even explain it. Most students are crying because presently after the French year, we have to rent expensive apartments, transport ourselves to school, and buy foodstuffs for feeding. The problems are too much. Some of our parents used to send money to the extent that they are now tired. Seriously we’ve tried a lot to reach the government, including on social media, all to no avail, they are not responding. Please help us, we are dieing.
Another beneficiary who simply wants to be addressed as Princess talked to our correspondence, she lamented about the state of affairs and call on President Muhammadu Buhari to come to their aid before things run out of hands.
Please help us communicate to President Buhari, tell him our situation is critical. Some of us are contemplating venturing into prostitution and some looking for menial jobs to do so that we can put body and soul together.
However, there seems to be so many questions begging to be answered.
Were these beneficiaries stipends not budgeted for in both years and years before?
Who is not releasing the stipends and what gave the person or the group or groups the temerity to withhold benefit of some people and allow them to wander in abject suffering?
Is the Presidency not aware of this act?
Who do we hold accountable?
Will diaspora voting be a solution to this menace?
These are questions that will possibly provide solution to this despicable action.