SPECIAL FEATURE STORY
✓ZMSG YET TO SETTLE OVER (400,000) EURO AS TUITION FEE.
✓STUDENTS ARE SLEEPING ON THE STREETS OF CYPRUS.
✓OUR FUTURE IS BLINKING, STUDENTS LAMENT.
✓COMR..YUSUF KANOMA YET TO MAKE COMMENT AS C’TTEE MEMBER THAT VISITED CYPRUS ON BEHALF OF ZMSG
✓ZAMFAFA DIRECTORATE OF STUDENTS MATTERS FAILS TO RESPOND TO FOI LETTERS BY THUNDER BLOWERS
Education is the bedrock of development to any society, that is why government upon government accorded serious priority to it’s growths in different dimension, ranging from building of schools and sponsoring of students to pursue different courses within and outside the country, especially in the area of science, medicine and technology.
Upon the advent of new administration in 2019 under the leadership of His Excellency, Bello Mohammed Matawalle one of his first priority was to recruit indegine of Zamfara state to send them abroad to study. After series of scrutiny under the watch of a consultant, 200 students were successful for the programme to be carried out in Sudan, India, China and Cyprus.
The programme started well for a while but at a later time problems started here and there, as students faced series of challenges.
The condition of the 92 students studying in Cyprus has called for concern and creating bad impression about sponsoring students to study abroad by state governments.
More importantly, parents and guardians of the students would develop serious apprehension and fear on the flight of their children as things are falling apart.
The inability of the Zamfara State government to act with required urgency based on agreement reached between the management of the International University of Cyprus and the state government is sending sad signal that future if these potential children is blinking.
Findings by Thunder Blowers revealed that, the state government is yet to settle a backlog of four hundred thousand Euros (400,000) owed to the management of the University as tuition fee cutting across school fees, feeding, and payment for the hostel accommodation and monthly upkeep.
Based on the information obtained from the University said, each of the 92 students is owing the University a total of (5,000) Euros.
The helpless students had to find ways for their shelter as the male students slept in the mosques, while the remaining ten girls students took of the advantage of the hostels of some girls students who were sponsored privately by their parents or guardians.
According to the source, the delay in the payment of outstanding debt of (400,000) Euros debt which is yet to be settled by the state government may cause the students to loss their chances of resuming to their academic activities after the end of the summer holiday.
It is funny that, the state government was unable to secure permit to reside for the students since when they commenced their academic programmes.
The state government promised to settle the required (N12M) for the students to have access to their permit but up till now for close to three years such permit could not be secured for them.
According to him, the inability of the government to secure the permit is affecting the chances of the students from getting access to other job opportunities to support their living in the Cyprus.
The students have made several attempts to make inquiries with the Directorate of the Student Matters headed by Mr. Lukman Majidadi but the response seems negative hence, the Special Adviser is not responding favourably in respect of the payment of the tuition fee.
The source further said there is conflicting interest between the Directorate of Student Matters and the Consultant managing the programme, the Directorate of Students Matters have been sidelined and frustrated in all the processes.
As a demonstration of concern, the state government set up a committee headed by Speaker of State Assembly, Nasiru Mu’azu Magarya to visit Cyprus alongside Chairman House Committee on Education Hon. Yusuf Alhassan Kanoma, Commissioner High Education Yahaya Chado and Special Adviser Directorate of Scholarship Matters to ascertain the true situation of the students.
Part of the discussions the government emissary had with the University management was asking for the forfeiture of the money, added for the late registration in the tuition fee and to allow the students have access to their academic result to allow for their self valuation.
The Commissioner of High Education and Special Adviser later attempted to enter Cyprus, but they were blocked at Istanbul in Turkey on the ground that the days allocated for them to visit Cyprus had elapsed.
The source called on the government to reconsider its position and settle the outstanding tuition fees to enable the frustrated students to be able to continue with their studies.
NO RESPONSE FROM DIRECTORATE OF STUDENT MATTERS
This medium has written two separate (FOI) letters to the Directorate of Student Matters to verify some allegations raised by the students from both Cyprus and Sudan, but the Directorate refused to respond to our letters.
But this medium independently gathered that, the Directorate is not becoming responsive to the issue because it was not fully involved at the level of making arrangements with the University since the consultant unilaterally made his own consultation with the institution.
The parents are now left in between whom to believe because the frustration is evident that some parents are beginning to loss the confidence with the government ability to take good care of their children abroad.
ITS WRONG FOR GOVT TO START WHAT IT CANNOT FINISH, EXPERT
He told this medium in a telephone interview that state Governors made the idea of sponsoring their citizens for study abroad as a political achievement, not mincing the fact that there are better options to support the education of their citizens.
He noted that, Governors in Nigeria if assumed office always come up with one idea of foreign scholarship or the other without taking measures of funding the existing local universities.
“Many Governors have left over of debt meant for foreign scholarship and instead of settling the backlog the incoming Governors move another concerment of students for another academic trips making the arrangements more complicated”.
He advised the Governors, especially those from the North to instead of sending students abroad to study first degrees invest heavily in provision of infrastructures and human resources to existing local universities and enter into bonding with them so that they can leverage on the opportunities back home to further their tertiary education.
ZMSG SHOULD RECALL THE STUDENTS BACK TO NIGERIA, AS IT HAS FAILED
A chieftain of the PDP in Zamfara state, Alh Saminu Garba had challenged the government to instead of destroying the future of these young boys and girls, take the appropriate measures of recalling them back home so that they can leverage on the option of Nigerian universities.
He described as unfortunate how the government failed in sustaining the education of these two hundred children it has sponsored as its fate project.
He also advised parents who cannot afford to provide upkeep allowances to their wards to hasten the recall of their children before they resorted to becoming thugs outside the shore of Nigeria.
“The implications of the condition of Zamfara students is disheartening I doubt if the state did not act soonest the girl students may involved themselves into some immoral acts to survive and the government by implications is not fair to its citizens.
HON. YUSUF KANOMA YET TO RESPOND TO OUR INQUIRIES OVER HIS VISIT TO CYPRUS
Thunder Blowers Multi-media Services had sent an online questionnaire to Yusuf Alhassan Kanoma one of the committee members who went to Cyprus for him to respond to some of the issues he was able to agree with the management of the University.
But he is yet to respond despite the fact that he has pledged to provide us with the details of the commitment he has entered with the University management.
Some of the students who spoke with Thunder Blowers said during the Kanoma’s visit to Cyprus International University he met with the Regional Director for Africa where all the issues concerning them were deliberated.
They have also informed this medium that Comrade Kanoma has come back with a draft agreement which he reached with the University management, but noted nothing was achieved since his return to Nigeria.
Some students interviewed from Cyprus through telephone called on the government to summon the consultant and verify what caused the mess up.
They insisted that if the Directorate is not the architect of the whole arrangements with the Cyprus International as claimed then, the Consultant shall be call to explain the circumstances behind the ugly development because it has no doubt caused monumental embarrassment to the government.
“Unless if the news making round the public that government has settled all that are needed for Zamfara students in Cyprus are not true” one of the students stated