It is now a trend for the Federal Government of Nigeria to award scholarships to qualified indigent Nigerian students and later abandon them to the mercy of their luck especially in foreign lands. cry
Annually, Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) is signed between Nigeria and some countries of the world (some of whose educational standard is not any better than Nigeria’s, that notwithstanding). The Federal Scholarship Board under the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, conducts a nationwide screening of candidates. At the mercy of all the risks and financial hardships involved, gullible youths whose parents sometimes cannot even afford a three square meal a day, travel across the length and breadth of Nigeria to either attend for this screening or for the submission of accompanying document(s) and sometimes even for further interactions needed by the Federal Scholarship Board or by the awarding countries. After all said and done the successful candidates are flown to their respective awarding countries.
Now, the heartbreaking situation is that while the donor countries keep up with their side of the agreement, providing these poor beneficiaries with Accommodation and Free Tuition, Nigerian government has continuously and shamefully displayed its indifference in complementing their own part of the bargain for these scholars. Nigeria is supposed to see to the provision of monthly upkeep allowances for books, feeding, clothing, medicals, research etc, to these scholars. The uninterrupted negligence on the part of Nigerian government has as a result exposed these youths to various dehumanizing activities like prostitution, stealing and associated crimes, all in the quest to make ends meet. For many others, hustling in the way of doing petty illegal jobs like cleaning of public toilets, snow clearing, club dancing jobs etc. has become their only means of livelihood. The untold consequence is that these scholars experience dramatic drop in time and interest for academic activities. Like the saying goes, one cannot serve two masters at a time.
Over and over again, scholars in Russia, Cuba, Ukraine… etc, have had to resort to violent demonstrations, protests and even hijacking of diplomatic missions before the supposed attention is given to their precarious situation. Unfortunately after a while everything goes sour again.
Regrettably as I write now, BEA Scholarship students in china are going hungry as a result of unpaid scholarship allowances since January 2015, and still counting. Worst still, 2015 BEA Postgraduate Scholars who graduated since July, 2015 are yet to ‘smell’ most of their outstanding allowances and settlements for flight tickets back to Nigeria. Despite the announcement of about 400million naira bailout fund for settling of the overseas scholars, BEA students in china are yet to see any ‘kobo’. They continuously rely on borrowing from their colleagues of other nations or involving in one illegal activity or the other outside school to fend for themselves. My guess is that the Nigerian government is as usual PATIENTLY waiting for these scholars to start protesting, so they would be tagged unpatriotic or better still an embarrassment to the nation. Nobody cares of what they are currently undergoing in trying to make ends meet. This is very pathetic and totally unfair!!! cry cry… And I join voice with them to say that this is UNACCEPTABLE!!! Nigerian Government should and must sit up to its responsibility and save these wonderful brains from the psychological and physical distress they are going through for no fault of theirs.
My questions to Nigerian Government are:
1. What type and quality of individuals do you think you are breeding with this careless act of disregard?
2. Why is violence the only language you hear before discharging the duties you owe as public servants?
3. When did it become a crime to seek for scholarship as a qualified indigent nigerian? By the way, isn’t scholarship supposed to cater for these set of people?
4. Why do awarded scholarship allowances have to be put in capital budget annually when it is obvious that it should be a non-debatable and untouchable fund? Why can’t there be a fixed purse managing active awards?
5. When such money is released, who, cursed in the name of the devil, delays the disbursement of such?
6. When the remittances are made, why must there be unanswered questions as to where parts of the allowances like research grants sometimes disappear to?
7. Why does it become a story nobody is told or dares to ask Federal Scholarship Board and the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja? I dare ask now, who sits on this money?
8. When does it stop being a norm in nigerian system for one to get what is due to one without the “I know someone that knows someone… who can”?
9. What happens to the usual monitoring activities abroad to access the standard of living of scholars, and most importantly to access the quality of education they are receiving? If this is still on, then why hasn’t someone answered for their incompetency? Because apparently some people are just eating the benefit and not doing their Job!
10. Why aren’t scholarship beneficiaries absolved into the system to help contribute to nation building with the supposed internationally acclaimed high standard of education they have acquired upon graduation?
11. How do you as an office holder in Nigeria feed and rest at night knowing that helpless people entrusted in your care have not had their share of feeding, talk more of rest?
These and many other questions are calling for answers. And until they are given the right attention, I weep for what may become of Nigeria in the not very distant future. You may not care today as government personnel but remember “when one blocks his path poo, he is bound to meet flies on his way back”. Today Nigeria cries for the north eastern part of its territory, but have refused to ask the very big question of how it got to that. Today, how many leaders in Nigerian government from that zone can boast of going home without their ‘heart in their pants’? Yes, I wonder myself.
The near-to-positive achievement commendable of President Buhari’s administration recently is the reduction of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry from 29 to 24 or there about, in an effort to cut down on the cost of governance. The choosing of Adamu Adamu as the minister of education, however, is not a choice some people are totally comfortable with. Others suggest that Adamu be given the benefit of doubt, believing that he will live up to the task of lifting the Education ministry to great heights. While scholarships to overseas may be something that will help to create a diversified community of intellects for National prosperity, Adamu should as matter of urgency, stop the ministry from giving fresh international scholarships, and concentrate on taking care of the current mammoth of scholarship beneficiaries suffering abroad, until the economy is ready for fresh awards.
Finally, this is a call on every well-meaning individual to help in the struggle for the rights of our fellow beings, especially the suffering youths abroad in the name of Scholarship. Let’s stop the “I don’t care” attitude. What goes around comes around.
NIGERIAN BEA students in China NEED YOU. PLEASE ACT NOW!!!!!