By Saheed Ibrahim
Parents of Nigerian students in foreign countries have appealed to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to pay their children’s allowance before the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari winds up.
The parents lamented that the affected students, especially the beneficiaries of the Bilateral Education Agreement studying in countries like Algeria, China, Cuba, Egypt, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, and Ukraine were owed up to five months’ allowance this year.
They said the award entitles each scholar to supplementation allowances of $6,000 per annum to augment feeding, local transport, maintenance, equipment/books, warm clothing allowances of $250 per annum, and health insurance of $200 per annum.
The parents said that the commitment of the donor countries was limited to tuition fees and accommodation. Under the arrangement, the Nigerian scholars are expected to be paid every month, but they said the reality, over the years, was that supplementation and other allowances of BEA scholars were paid in arrears.
Sources said some of the students, especially those in Russia, had resorted to begging as the ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine and the attendant sanctions have significantly raised the country’s living standards.
One of the parents who spoke anonymously said they were gripped with fears that the incoming administration might not consider the payment of the outstanding allowance a priority until it finally settles down.
One of the parents said, “Already, our children in Russia are complaining. The cost of living has increased significantly, and not all parents have enough to send to these children. We appeal to the outgoing administration to settle these children before they become a nuisance in desperation for survival.”
Nigeria has four categories of scholarship awards: the Bilateral Education Agreement, the Commonwealth, the Nigerian awards, and the Sustainable Development Goals awards.
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