Six Nigerian students on the Federal Government’s Bilateral Agreement Education Scholarship Scheme in Cuba urged the National Assembly to intervene in the non-payment of outstanding allowances owed them by the Federal Government.
In a letter signed by Adie Patrick, the President of the students’ body in Cuba and addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, he said that life had not been easy for them in Cuba with no source of livelihood due to the inability of the government to promptly release their stipends.
The letter was also copied the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora Affairs, as well as Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
According to him, the non-payment of their stipends in the last two years has exposed them to very dangerous and pernicious situations in the foreign land.
“Part of 2015 allowance is still owed us, also the shortfall of the 2016 allowances and the entire 2017 stipend has not been paid.
“This is in spite of all the tireless efforts of the embassy, the efforts of my colleagues and myself.
“This has brought about unimaginable suffering, which has affected us emotionally, spiritually, socially and even in our academics as we have not been able to meet up with basic necessities.
“Due to our humble backgrounds, we have not been able to get much help from home either, this has caused us to live in penury because we have exhausted all the possible means of sustenance known to us,” Patrick said.
The affected students are; Aishat Olaoye – Osun, Nguseer Sombo-Benue, Kabiru Sagir, Bauchi State, Umaru Usman -Katsina State, Micheal Ihindan, Benue and Adie Patrick- Cross River.
They are all studying medicine while four are undergraduates, two are postgraduate students.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the scheme is a bilateral agreement between the Nigerian government, through the ministry of education and the federal scholarship board, and other countries.
It is aimed at training students in various fields while the home government takes care of their upkeep during their stay in the host countries.
It is the largest federal government scholarship scheme with students in Russia, China, Ukraine, Cuba, Hungary, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.