18 May 2018

Nigeria: We've Been Abandoned in Russia, Nigerian Students Lament

No fewer than 19 postgraduate students granted scholarships by Presidential Amnesty Programme have alleged abandonment by the Federal Government.

The students, who are currently in their final year at People's Friendship University of Russia, alleged that Paul Boroh, sacked coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, stopped sending funds to them in June 2016.

President Muhammadu Buhari had sacked Boroh on March 13 and ordered anti-graft agencies to probe the amnesty programme, and replaced him with Prof. Charles Dokubo.

Leader of the scholarship beneficiaries, Abilo Franz, said in a statement that a delegation of the students met with Boroh on September 6, 2016, in his office in Abuja to resolve the issue.

According to him, some senior staff of the agency, including Asari Udem, head of offshore education, were part of the meeting.

Franz said after hours of deliberations, Boroh told them to go back and continue with their education, while assuring them of continued sponsorship.

He, however, said a circular was sent to them two months later, asking them to return home.

He said: "We met with the SA (Boroh) and but the SA gave us his final words to go and continue with our studies. Hopefully, we returned to Russia and disclosed the good news to our colleagues.

"I was in constant contact with the SA by telephone conversation and email for about two months, but on November 10, 2016 we received a circular from the SA asking us to return home that the Presidential Amnesty office does not have the resources to finance our ambition to further education, barely a week of assuring us by mail that our tuition will be paid.

"It was a shock as everyone had spent his saving to make first quarter payment of tuition and we were at the peak of the first semester of the first academic year."

Noting that all efforts to reach Boroh, even before he was sacked, proved futile, Franz explained that the students had been left to fend for themselves since then.

"We, the abandoned students are appealing to the new SA, Prof Charles Quakers Dokubo to come to our aid," he said.


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