Some Nigerian students on a sponsored scholarship under a Bilateral Educational Agreement (BEA) are presently undergoing hardship due to the Nigerian government’s inability to fulfil its commitment to the programme.
As part of the scholarship, the Russian government was to take care of tuition and accommodation while the Nigerian government was to provide stipends that include medical and warm clothing fees.
The $500 stipend has not been paid by the Nigerian government for the past 12 months.
One of the affected students, Ibrahim Mukhtar, told PREMIUM TIMES that, “What’s even more disheartening is the fact that the Russian government always fulfils its part of the bilateral agreement (paying our tuition and accommodation), yet our fatherland forgets about us totally.”
“The inability of the Nigerian government to pay our stipends has left us borrowing and owing. Scholarship students are left with the option of getting money through various illegal means or risk being thrown out of our hostels and subsequently getting deported,” the third year student of Information and Communications Technology added.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the students currently face a huge problem in extending their visa, renewing their health insurances and getting warm clothes in preparation for winter.
The students under the auspices of the Association of Nigerian Scholarship Students in Russia have approached the Nigerian Embassy to intervene but all to no avail.
According to Mr. Mukhtar, the embassy instead tried to stop students from protesting over their plight.
However, the students have organized a protest to hold at the Nigerian embassy in Russia, despite a threat by the Embassy to revoke their scholarships if they go ahead with the protest.
Simultaneously, parents and concerned persons will also be protesting at the Federal Ministry of Education and the Central Bank of Nigeria on the same date.
Officials of the Federal Scholarship Board, the parastatal in the Education Ministry responsible for the scholarship, are yet to respond to PREMIUM TIMES inquiry on reasons for the non-payment of the allowances.