The executive secretary, Borno State Scholarship Board, Mr Bala Isa, has blamed the delay on the payment of scholarships to students from the state in tertiary institutions across the country on the actions of some applicants who want to defraud the state government and others who gave wrong identification numbers and bank account numbers.
Isa disclosed this yesterday in an interview with LEADERSHIP in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. The executive secretary’s reaction followed complaints and allegations from some Borno students especially, those at the University of Maiduguri who worried that despite the approval and payment by the state government since last year, the scholarship payments have not reached them to perfect their school registration.
Our correspondent reports that the Borno State governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum had last year approved the sum of over N476.6 million as scholarships to indigent students of Borno State who are in tertiary institutions across the federation.
Some of the aggrieved students who spoke on the condition of anonymity lamented that due to the economic realities coupled with the Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorism, they found it difficult to pay for their school fees in the present academic session of their schools.
The students even alleged embezzlement of the fund by the state officials wondering how the money could not be disbursed since last year that it was approved.
But further reacting, the secretary of the board blamed some of the students who attached wrong identity numbers in their application forms, noting that others in their attempt to defraud the state government applied with the names of fake institutions of learning that are not in existence in the country.
He said another issue discovered by the board at his assumption of office in October last year was that after payment of the money to the board in November same year, upon screening, it was discovered that some of the applicants who have graduated since four to five years ago from their institutions still applied to remain in the payment roll.
He said there are other applicants who applied for themselves in addition with names of their family members who are not students, with each of the names using same account number with the aim of the one applicant receiving the whole payment, while others applied with account number of their parents which didn’t tally with their names on the application forms.
He said the board even pasted names of students who were successfully captured as well as those not captured in their respective schools.
“There are a lot of problems we have documented so far. We started with polytechnics and colleges of education because of large numbers of those in the universities. In the process we discovered that most of the students were having problems because some of them filled in wrong identity numbers during their registrations.
“Others registered with names of non-existing schools in the country while others submitted bank account numbers of their parents or family members that did not tally with the name they applied with. There are students who applied with names of family members using one account number with the aim of receiving all the payments when paid.
“For these reasons, we want to redesign our Portal in such a way that when a student registers with an identity number, it will be customised according to his or her department in the institution. This will ensure that nobody can register with a fake number so that genuine students could be registered.
“We appeal to the genuine affected students to exercise patients as the amount paid so far is for those that have been properly captured and documented,” Isa said.