12 October 2018

Nigeria: Kaduna Students Give El-Rufai 21-Day Ultimatum Over Unpaid Scholarships

Kaduna — National Association of Kaduna State Students (NAKASS) has given Governor Nasir El-Rufai 21 days to begin payment of scholarships to them.

The protesting higher institution students urged the governor to immediately implement the scheme, which his government has abandoned for three and half years.They also passed a vote of no confidence in his government for its inability to improve the welfare of students and people of the state.

At a press conference at the state Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), NAKASS Secretary General, Jeremiah Gwaza, said: "It is with a heavy heart that we express our disappointment with the government of Nasir El'Rufai, over his neglect of tertiary institution students in his acclaimed educational reforms. "This was the leadership that we all had very high expectations from as students, especially in the area of scholarships.

But to our disappointment, since the inception of his administration, despite that every appropriation bill had an allocation for scholarships, no payment has ever been made to the local students."He lamented that the situation has led to the miserable hardship amongst the students, particularly orphans, those from less-privileged homes, and others whose parents his government retrenched from the state civil service.

Gwaza said explained that El'Rufai had introduced a categorised scholarship scheme towards the end of 2017, which turned out to be a mirrage.Under the scheme, those with 3.5 upward were placed on the Merit category; those with 3.49 down ward were on Need Base, as well as others on Sports Category and Special Category for people with disability.

Unfortunately, despite the pains and sacrifices taken by students to comply with the registration process, within the stipulated 15 days, nothing significant came out of it.The students criticised El-Rufai for the misinformation that the state government "is working together with commercial banks to give Kaduna state students scholarships in form of loans as it is being done in some developed countries."

Gwaza expressed concern that over 73,632 students in the state are subjected to various forms of hardships and challenges, following their inability to pay tuition fees.This, he, said has made many students to defer their academic programmes for a sessions, semester, and in some cases total withdrawal from school."We are now tired of this agonising situation and cannot take it anymore. NAKASS has exhausted every means possible to dialogue with relevant agencies for years, but to no avail," he said.

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