52 students under the Bauchi State Special Sponsorship Scheme have lamented the government’s refusal to pay their tuition fees for two consecutive sessions, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017.
The aggrieved students who are studying in Igbinedion University, Okada, in Edo State risk spilling over in their various academic fields, following the failure of the state government to pay the outstanding tuition fees.
In a bid to avoid spending an extra year, the students called on Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar-led government to come to their aid and offset the outstanding fees.
Their plea was contained in a statement signed by some of the affected students, namely: Ibrahim, Rahmatu, Saadatu, Fatima and Aliyu and made available to DAILY POST.
The students’ claimed that contrary to the claim by the government that it had paid the fees of students on its scholarship scheme, the opposite was the case.
Checks by DAILY POST revealed that the Special Assistant on Communications to the State Governor, Shamsudden Lukman Abubakar had in a Facebook post in May claimed that the government had settled the students’ tuition fees to the tune of N200, 000,000.
The post by Shamsudden reads, “His Excellency, the Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed. A. Abubakar had settled over two hundred million Naira (200.000.000) outstanding school fees in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 session at Igbinedion University, Okada of Students of Bauchi origin sent by the immediate past administration under the MoU to study B.sc Nursing, B.sc Pharmacy and B.sc Medical Laboratory Science.”
However, the statement by the students claimed that the government was yet to pay for their tuition fees for the academic sessions under review.
The students disclosed that the university management has subjected them to “all kinds of psychological” harassment over their continued “indebtedness.”
The statement reads, “We are the 86 students under the sponsorship of Bauchi state government (BASG) who are studying various professional courses such as Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Medical laboratory science in Igbinedion University Okada (IUO), out of which 10 have graduated last year and 52 are due for graduation this year.
“However, we may have to wait for another year due to non-payment of our tuition fees for 2 consecutive sessions (i.e. 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 sessions) by the government. The school is tired of our indebtedness and we have been subjected to all kinds of psychological trauma because every day we are being addressed as defaulters who are reaping from the tuition paid by the other students. The school management has affirmed and reaffirmed that our results will not be shortlisted and the Senate would not approve and release our results.
“As we are talking to you now none of us has seen his/her result, particularly the 52 graduating students, not to even know our stand. Many among the graduating students are to be mobilized for NYSC and those who studied health-related courses are to be cleared for induction, but neither of them have been mobilized nor have they been cleared for induction. We are at the verge of spilling over if the government does not make the payment.
“Many of us have not started our projects, while some halt theirs at the middle. Only a few opportune ones are able to complete theirs due to lack of resources to finance the project. The only time we have is now or spill over.
“Other students that are not in their final year are denied access to the bookshop for their textbooks and library for research all because of the continuing delay by the government to pay the tuition fees. The school management stated that the government officials have been deceiving them and they will not tolerate deception and politics as such, their next plan will be to deprive us access to other school facilities if the government keeps delaying to fulfil their promise.”
The students, however, noted that the Bauchi State government had in 2017 sent some delegates from the Office of the Auditor General to verify their numbers and tuition fees from the school management.
According to them, the delegation promised that their fees will be paid once they submit their report to the government.
“We can recall vividly last year on two occasions i.e August and November, the Bauchi state government sent delegation through the office of the Auditor General to verify the number of students and tuition fees from the school management and all were done with bunch of promises to the school that the payment would be made as soon as they deliver the report to the government, but nothing has been seriously done.
“Likewise, in May this year (2018), the government publicly announced through the office of the Special Assistant (SA) to the Governor in Media the approval for the payment of all the tuition fees and our upkeep allowances but surprisingly up to now, the payment has not been made. In the same lane, on 1st July this same year, another delegation, under the ministry of Education, came and granted us courage that as soon as they submit their report, the payment would be guaranteed. We keep pressing but the feedback from the government is always discouraging.
“It is with this regard that we are pleading with the Bauchi state government to as a matter of urgency, speed up the payment process to rescue the life and future of its good citizens studying under the special sponsorship program of the State Government,” the statement added.
Speaking with DAILY POST, one of the affected students, Rahmatu affirmed the statement above saying, “The state government has not paid our tuition fees despite claims of doing so. Sometimes last year, they sent a delegate to the school management and they promised us that the fees will be settled but till now, nothing has happened.”
As at the time of filing this report, calls put across to Shamsudden went unanswered. Text message forwarded to him never got a response.
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