Some indigenous students of Lagos State have cried out to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor, to help rescue their academic goals as they face an unfortunate reality over the promised financial support from the scholarship board.
Adeoye Fatai, president of the National Union of Lagos State Students (NULASS), the University of Ibadan (UI) chapter, disclosed to BusinessDay in a chat that the indigent students of the state in tertiary institutions, who were assured scholarships by the government after picking up the application forms and completing all prerequisite qualification steps, find themselves in a prolonged state of uncertainty as their scholarship/bursary funds remain undelivered.
“Despite the announcement of a significant 100 percent increase in bursary amounts in October 2022, these funds are yet to reach the students’ hands, leading to escalating financial hardships and jeopardising their pursuit of education.
As the academic year unfolds, the weight of unmet promises bears heavily on the shoulders of Lagos State scholars considering the current reality of the economy and the federal government’s removal of tertiary education subsidy plus the introduction of education loans.
This delay has triggered financial hardships of unprecedented proportions, forcing students to grapple with the dilemma of choosing between their education and basic needs,” he said.
Furthermore, Fatai explained that bearing in mind the current realities about school fees the students under the Lagos State Scholarship Board are wondering why some of them are yet to receive their 2022 bursaries and/or scholarships.
“Students from Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos State College of Health Education (LASCOHET) are the most fortunate with a great percentage of beneficiaries paid. Their colleagues from other institutions are not so lucky.
The worst hit are students from UI with less than 10 percent of beneficiaries paid. The board initially gave the excuse that the delay was a result of verification from their student affairs/registry.
It is surprising therefore that month after the verification exercise has been conducted, the majority are still waiting for alerts or payment proof,” he noted.
A student, who begged to remain anonymous, said: “It’s been a tough year for us, and we’re just asking for the money that we were promised.”
He expressed his frustration and desperation over the uncalled delay in fulfilling the promise by those saddled with the responsibility.
The plight of these students speaks volumes about the emotional toll and uncertainty they face daily, a stark contrast to the hopeful anticipation they once held.
According to one of the students, “The scholarship board, when contacted said the delay is due to paucity of funds and disbursement will resume once the funds are available.
This is particularly concerning because the state governor already released and made funds available for all beneficiaries several months ago.
Initially, when we eventually got to contact the NULASS board through a group for the University of Lagos NULASS students, we were told that our payments both for fresh and subsequent beneficiaries had been delayed due to some sort of embezzlement within the board.
Nevertheless, we were informed early this year, before the election, that the governor had approved a sum of 2 billion naira to be disbursed to us all.”
The students were amazed to discover that while they were making efforts to disburse their delayed financial support, the students from LASU had been settled since 2022. Hence, they wondered, why then were the rest of us left out? And till now, that has not been addressed.
Another student explained thus; “As a student of UI, our studentship verification took pretty long because the board, according to AbdulRahman Lekki, the chairman posted a letter containing the names of students to the office of the registrar of UI for verification.
On getting a hold of this letter, it dawned on us that the names sent were not up to half of us expecting payments. Well, we contacted the board’s chairman to inform him of the incompletion.
After that, they requested that we send them the complete list we had (we had compiled our names already) that they would check up on the database and afterward send through an email to the registrar.
We did that and eventually, our names were sent for verification.
The verification was completed and sent to LSSB on or before August, yet less than five of 22 of us were paid around August 3, 2023, or thereabouts. To date, we do not know why many of us have not been paid.”