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EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian Int’l Students decry FG’s 10-month unpaid allowance

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EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian students overseas decry FG's 10-month-old unpaid scholarship allowance
Deputy Director, Federal Scholarship Board, Mr. Abdussalami Mohammed Dahiru with 41 students on First Batch of awardees of the Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) Scholarships at the Domodedovo International Airport, Moscow, 2022.

Nigerian Students in Russia, Algeria, Hungary, and Morocco, who are beneficiaries of the Bilateral Education Agreement scholarship program under the Federal Scholarship Board (FSB) are owed 10 months’ worth of their feeding and accommodation allowances.

The host countries pay students’ school fees under the scholarship agreements between the FSB and various countries in the bilateral scheme. At the same time, the Nigerian government gives the students a monthly allowance of $500 (₦618,026.92), including feeding and accommodation, with an extra sum of $450 (₦556,224.23) per year to support warm clothing and health insurance.

The mandatory payments stopped between 2023 and 2024 with no explanation.

When the students contacted the ministry and various embassies in host countries, they were told that the previous year’s budget was not enough to meet these commitments because of the change in the exchange rate.

 

Speaking to West Africa Weekly, one of the students said:

“Since January, they have been telling us that FG has not started capital expenditure for the year hence, they can’t pay us. Landlords have evicted some of us from our apartments in Morocco. We can no longer go to school like students again because we need to do manual labour to feed. The minister told us there’s nothing they can do until capital expenditure starts.

Furthermore, “Students in cities close to Ukraine in Russia want to relocate but can’t because there’s no money to do that. Their lives are in danger. We are about 500 students on this scholarship alone, and we are starving.”

Students in cities close to Ukraine in Russia want to relocate but can’t because there’s no money to do that. Their lives are in danger. We are about 500 students on this scholarship alone, and we are starving.”

The students have submitted multiple complaints to the ministry, but they have not received a response. They have since resorted to social media to draw attention to their plight.

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