Some students of Ebonyi State origin studying abroad under the state government’s scholarship scheme have raised alarm over their imminent ejection from their school following the inability of the state government to pay their fees and other expenses.
They accused the Governor David Umahi administration of abandoning them to their fate since 2015.
The students say they may be deported from the different countries where they are based.
In a statement issued by Udochukwu B. Akuru, a third year doctoral student in Electrical Machines (Renewable Energy Option), Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, the students appealed to the governor to come to their aide.
“The present administration in Ebonyi State appeared to have hitherto abandoned its students studying in different parts of the world, neither our tuition fees, bench fees nor living expenses have been paid since September 2015. As a result of this, most of us are already stranded, whereas some are at the verge of being ejected from their schools and accommodations,” the statement said.
According to the students, the deadline given to them to pay up or have their confirmation of admission (CAS) withdrawn elapsed in May 2016.
“This means that our admission would be terminated and our schools would be left with no option but to contact the immigration office that we are no longer students and eventually put us at the risk of being deported.
“This also implies that we will lose two to three years of rigorous research work without any certificate, and understandably all the previous fees paid by the State Government would amount to nothing.
“If in the slightest instance of hope for the future, we wish to restart our studies in the event that we are deregistered, it then means we would need to come back to Nigeria to apply for new visas under stringent conditions,” the statement said.
The students said they had made unsuccessful efforts to reach Mr. Umahi.
“However, all our representative visits, letters, text messages and calls, have not been responded to and this has made our life as foreign students so difficult”.
The students said efforts to get the government to understand and commit to paying the fees on installmental bases were equally rebuffed.
“We have also made them to understand that after this year (2016) a good number of us would have graduated, which would give them a sustainable approach for the future of those who will be left for the remaining part of their studies. This also has not appealed to their awareness,” they added.
While noting the economic downturn in the country which have affected the revenue of the state, the students however said that it would amount to wastage of millions of naira which have so far been expended on the students with most of the them already in their final year of study.
When contacted, the state Commissioner of Education, John Ekeh, confirmed the non-payment of the students’ fees but blamed it on the dwindling revenue of the state government.
“The situation is also causing the government sleepless night; the governor is also worried about their plight but we are seriously challenged financially and hence cannot do anything about it for the moment.”
He also revealed that the Federal Government had waded into the matter as students from other states were also facing similar challenges.
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