Kebbi State-sponsored students studying medicine and other science- related courses in Indian universities are currently in dire straits over non-payment of their tuition and other allowances by their home state government.
Though the Commissioner for Higher Education in Kebbi State, Professor Mukhtar Umar Bunza, in a letter dated March 14, 2018 wrote to the authorities of Bharati Vidyapeeh University in India that the fees applicable to the students, including those on internship, had already been processed and awaiting the governor’s approval, there is still considerable unease among the students.
Solacebase gathered that the delayed payment of the fees and allowances was not unconnected to a fraud detected in the ministry and the state’s Scholarship Board which allegedly led to the redeployment of the former commissioner in the ministry, Alhaji Abdullahi Maigari Dakingari, and the indefinite suspension of the former executive director of the Scholarship Board, Dr. Musa Birnin-Yauri.
When journalists sought the comments of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Higher Education, Dr. Muhammed Isa Sama, on the matter, he declined comments, but referred them to the acting executive secretary of the scholarship board.
When newsmen met the acting executive secretary of the board, Malam Abass Muhammed Birnin-Kebbi, he said “Only two of the nine Dental (Surgery) students sponsored by the state remain in India because they had to repeat their courses. The remaining seven are in Kebbi now; some of them came to my office last week.”
Solacebase gathered that the state is currently sponsoring 15 MBBS and nine Dental (Surgery) students in the Indian university; but their cases worsened when some top officials in the ministry and the scholarship board allegedly misappropriated part of the N137 million released by the state government for their tuition and upkeep allowances.
Some high ranking officials in the ministry and the state’s scholarship board were fingered in the deal. The then commissioner, after his interrogation by the state police command, was redeployed to the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, while the executive secretary of the scholarship board is still under suspension over the matter.
Solacebase recalls that the students last year in an open letter signed by two of their leaders, Nura Samaila and Allyassa Ibrahim, drew the attention of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to their travails in India.
But, the then Commissioner for Higher Education, Alhaji Abdullahi Maigari Dakingari, insisted that their issue was before the governor and that he was only waiting for the governor’s approval.
Governor Bagudu, during his 2018 budget presentation at the state House of Assembly, indeed confirmed that there was a delay in the payment of the fees and allowances of the foreign students, which he attributed to “sharp practices” by some top officials of the ministry and the state scholarship board.
“Major actions have been taken against the officials who tampered with the fund meant for the students’ tuition fees and allowances. I will personally ensure that their fees are paid soon,” he had said