Eighty-six students of Bauchi origin who are on state government scholarship at Igbinedion University, Edo State, risked being sent out from the university due to Bauchi government’s inability to pay their fees.
Sixty-four of the 86 students are studying medicine and medical-related courses such as pharmacy, nursing, medical laboratory sciences, and microbiology.
The scholarship programe was initiated by the past administration of Isa Yuguda, PREMIUM TIMES gathered.
The affected students, in an email sent to PREMIUM TIMES, said the university management informed them that the school was tired of their indebtedness, and might no longer allow them to continue attending lectures.
“We have been subjected to all kinds of humiliation, embarrassment and psychological trauma because every day we are being told we are defaulters who are reaping from the tuitions paid by other students especially those not under any scholarship,” the students said in the mail sent on their behalf by one Aliyu Musa.
Although the scholarship programme covers their welfare as well, the students said they resorted to begging on campus for survival, since they had not received upkeep allowance for two years now from the Bauchi government.
“Please we need help. We want Nigerians to help us beg Bauchi state government to pity our conditions and save us from being pushed out of the campus, and also save our future,” the students pleaded.
The Registrar, Igbinedion University, Eddy Okoro, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the affected students had not paid their tuition fees for three years now.
Mr. Okoro said, “For God sake, this is a private university and not a charity organization.”
The university may soon take the “ultimate option” of sending the students away from the campus, the registrar said.
He said the school had approached the Bauchi government several times on the issue, without getting any positive response.
“It is not a normal thing to allow students seat for examinations without paying their fees. But we gave that consideration to the state government’s candidates because they are from corporate outfits.
“Our private students are not allowed to write examinations when they don’t pay their fees. We have students from the federal government amnesty programme, they pay.
“Of course you can’t treat corporate clients like you treat the private students; a government is a government. But on this case, the government has just refused to act; nobody is talking to you despite several entreaties to them.”
Usman Abdulwahab, 21 years old pharmacy student, ranked as the overall best student in the university, will be among those to withdraw from studies, when the university eventually decides to shut its door against the affected students.
The school registrar, Mr. Okoro, who confirmed Mr. Abdulwahab’s excellence academic performance to this newspaper, said the scholarship programme wasn’t a bad investment at all for the Bauchi government.
“The students are really doing well,” Mr. Okoro said.
Besides Mr. Abdulwahab who the registrar said is classified as a scholar, the other Bauchi students have also excelled in their respective classes.
One of them, a female sophomore student of medicine, Rahmat Minka’el, tops her class as overall best.
Also, 16 of the students have so far made it to the First Class level, while many of them are within the Second Class Upper region.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted the Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Ministry of Education, Nasiru Yalwa, he said the problem was inherited from the former administration of Mr. Yuguda.
Mr. Yalwa explained the effort the government was making to settle the problem.
“Last time, about two months ago, the officials of the Igbinedion University came to Bauchi and we discussed with them and my Honorable Commissioner, and since then we have processed the case, and we are just waiting for the release of the fund which I believe will be very soon,” he said.
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