Rivers Foreign Students Decry Govt Neglect, Resort To Begging | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Rivers Foreign Students Decry Govt Neglect, Resort To Begging

Nyesom Wike, PDP
Posted: May 4, 2016 at 6:01 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Daniel Abia

Port Harcourt – Seventeen students of Rivers State origin studying in various universities in the United Kingdom under the Rivers State sustainable development (RSSDA) scholarship scheme have cried to Governor Nyesom Wike to save them from “untold hardship” in a foreign land.

In a save our souls’ letter dated April 18, 2016, the students said that they have not been paid their allowances for one year and five months, a situation that has led them into begging foreign colleagues for daily survival.

The students who are all in their final year in the various universities appealed to the government to save them from embarrassment as the authorities of their universities had stopped them from their practical examinations and would be a wasted effort if having spent so many years and resources they are unable to be graduated.

“As final year students graduating this year, we would like to bring to your notice our present financial situation as a result of non-payment from December 2014 (1 year and 5 months) to date.

“However, with our current financial position, there is no option left for us to ponder other than cry out for help for survival. We cannot bear it any longer because it is beyond us. We would not make a mountain out of our present situations but rather will declare it as fair as it is.

“Most importantly, we are financially broke to the point that even food can no longer be found on our table. This is alarming but it is what we face day after day. Sadly, we cannot remember the last time any of us visited the market to buy food,” the students said.

The students confessed that they now rely on “our foreign friends for even food. It is believed that, food is one of the fundamentals of existence, so how do we survive in strange land without food and roof to cover our heads?

“Transportation to school is now a forgotten story because we have not been able to pay for bus fares; we cannot even go to school because of non-payment of tuition fees. Everyday our problems are compounding and the challenges are overwhelming.”

More so, “we have arranged with the landlords to give us some time to crack a means to pay them their rents but all our efforts were declined, as we owe more than 12 months’ rent. The landlords have told us that they will use legal actions against us in a bit to get back their money.”

According to the letter titled, “Critical Financial Situation Of Rssda-Sponsored Students Abroad, some of the students have been served with court notice and are expected to appear in court in the following weeks” while most of them have been evacuated from their apartments because of the non-payment of rents; now more than five students are living in one room just to stay under a roof, some are living on the street, while others look for means of survival.”

The letter went on to say that apart from non-payment of students’ upkeep and accommodation allowances, tuitions have not been paid for a couple of years. As a reaction to that, most universities have stopped the RSSDA scholars from attending classes and sitting for exams.

“In our Institution, the final year medical students have been stopped from attending clinical rotations, meaning they will not be allowed to sit for their final examination and may not be graduated this year. This trend has continued for so long that we are scared of being evicted from the school,” the students said.

In an exclusive interview last week, Larry Pepple, the new MD/CEO of the RSSDA, said the state government would continue to cater for the academic pursuit of the final year students abroad.

He reminded that in assumption of office as governor, Wike released N2 billion to offset the backlog of allowances and tuition fees owed the students.

“I inherited N3.1 billion debt. But the state government would do everything to assist the final year students,” Larry said.