Bauchi State scholarship undergraduates of Igbinedion University, Okada have narrated their ordeal over nonpayment of their grants while appealing to the state government to urgently come to their aid to alleviate their sufferings and save them from avoidable pending academic spill over.
The students under the Bauchi State Special Scholarship Scheme in a statement made available to newsmen on Friday alleged that the State government had not paid their grants for the past two academic sessions. The development which, they said, has subjected them to what they described as “psychological trauma.”
According to them, several appeals had been made to the state government and subsequently, two different delegations had visited the school at different times but non has yielded any fruitful result.
The aggrieved undergraduates also alleged that for the past two years, the school authority has barred them from using the University Bookshop and other facilities which they are using other students’ tuition fees to provide. The students are also being denied access to their semester results, NYSC mobilisation and induction.
The statement read: “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 for lack of fund. Only 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 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 fulfill their promise.
“We can recall vividly in 2017, 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 Shamsudden Lukeman Abubakar, the Special Assistant (SA) on Communications to Gov Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar, on his personal Facebook page 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 since then 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.”
Contrary to the claim by the students that they were denied access to the school’s facilities, when contacted, the University Bursar, Nosa Edogiawerie said, “The fact is that Bauchi State government is owing the school the tuition fees of the students but I am not aware of the School authority denying the students access to any facility.
“We concluded our examinations last month and the students were all allowed to write with the understanding that Bauchi State government would soon offset their outstanding school fees.
“Our MoU with the government does not cover stipends to the students so I wouldn’t know what their government arranged with them and how they could get it.”
However, President of Bauchi State Students, Igbinedion University Chapter, Muhammad Umar affirmed that actually they were allowed to write the semester exams but for those students that have make-up examinations to write in the summer program, they were asked to pay from their pockets or forfeit the program.
Umar also confirmed that the University authority has, for the past two years, stopped the scholarship students from using the University Bookshops and other facilities as well as not releasing their semesters results.
According to him, “yes, it’s true we were allowed to write our last semester examinations. But our results are being withheld. We need to see our results to know our fate and performance.
“For the past two years, the University has stopped us from using their Bookshop for research saying that “they cannot continue to enjoy other students’ tuition fees without paying theirs.
“The School authority has not been releasing our results to us. There has been this inscription “indebted” on our names. We are being denied NYSC mobilisation and induction. We barely feed in school,” Umar stated.
Reacting to the appeal, the SA to the Executive Governor on Communications, Abubakar responded saying, “The story is not only misleading, but untrue. The Government of His Excellency Gov. M.A Abubakar inherited such students from the previous regime which did not make adequate preparations for their scholarship. It paid less than 50% of their tuition fees for the first year (2014/2015).
“From the inception of the present administration, recognizing the importance of education to societal growth, decided to step in and salvage the situation and save the students from their plight by paying the 50% balance of their tuition and upkeep for the 2014/2015 session. Additionally, despite inheriting an empty treasury coupled with paucity of funds due to fallen oil prices, Governor MA Abubakar paid the university the sum of about 200,000,000 (Two hundred million Naira) for the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 sessions respectively. This is a verifiable piece of information. So, in total, Gov. Abubakar has paid over 200,000,000 if the 50% of their first year was included.
“We find it rather perplexing how the students are complaining and even accusing the Governor of abandoning them. His Excellency had since given approval for the payment of 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 sessions tuition and upkeep. Just a few weeks ago, the Governor dispatched his Commissioner for Education to the University where they agreed on a timeline for the payments, and that was settled.
“However, our findings from the University authorities suggests that some of the students who failed their exams and are forced to re-sit them during summer semester are behind the so-called press release. The registrar of the University confirmed that the University did NOT stop any student from writing exams or carrying on with his/her lectures. In fact, summer classes or semester is NOT attached to the tuition fees and the registrar had explained clearly to the affected students including students from Kano.
“Governor M.A Abubakar deserves commendation not condemnation.”
According to the students, “WE are not asking the government to pay for our summer program for those that have one or two issues. We are appealing to the government and the school authority to settle to enable us see our results and gain access to the school Bookshop.
The helpless students said they were only appealing to their father, the listening governor of the state, M.A Abubakar to please come to their aid while describing their plight in school as “traumatic’.
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