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‘Expect These Kinds of Challenges’ — Zamfara Govt Defends Failure To Pay Bursaries For Students Sponsored Abroad

Over 50 Zamfara indigenous students studying at Cyprus International University were thrown out of campus due to unpaid bursaries by the Zamfara State Government. Sadly, the government justified it, saying anyone who leaves their country should expect such a scenario.

In 2020, the state government sponsored 200 students to study Medicine and Para-Medical courses, Engineering and Computer Science, among other courses in four foreign countries. According to WikkiTimes’findings,  21 students would be sponsored to study in China, 70 in India, 50 in Sudan and 59 in Cyprus.

READ: After 3 Weeks In Captivity, Zamfara Police Rescues Two Minor Girls

Some of the aggrieved students told BBC Hausa during its Shirin Safe programme on Monday, that they have been sent packing from the campus for two months as the government failed to pay their bursaries including accommodation fees which were expected to span for two years. 

The students explained that they now live in perpetual fear of being arrested and imprisoned by the Cyprus government as they pass the night wherever it falls on them. 

From Campus To The Streets

The students, since they were sent out, said they do not know the whereabouts of some of their colleagues. Ten of the students are females and they have been confined to one place out of fear of being picked by the police.

“Sincerely speaking, right from the beginning of this scholarship, we have been encountering a series of problems,” one of the students told BBC Hausa. “The promises made by the state government have not been accomplished.”

“For example, when we were coming here (Cyprus), they told us that our school fees had been paid. We were also told that we would be paid an allowance of $100. But when we initially came, they gave us some money, but not up to $100 as promised, and that was the beginning of the problem.”

“This is our third year in this country and the situation has gotten worst. It has gotten to the point that the school said they won’t tolerate us again, and had to send us out of school and also evicted us out of the hostel. At the moment, we are homeless, devastated and don’t know what to do.

READ: Zamfara Govt Disarms Vigilantes, Puts Trust In Bandits Over ‘Ceasefire Agreement’

“We don’t have food nor do we have befitting shelter because the school has chased us out of the hostel. Many of us have resorted to sleeping in Mosques and other unhealthy/unsafe places. We don’t know where some of the students are now, but I believe that many of them have found their ways of survival. This is our second month of being in this inhumane condition here.”

A female student who pleaded anonymity said: She said: “We are 10 female students staying in one corner of where we found ourselves. The worst of the situation is that we are faced with an arrest threat from the Cyprus Police and other law enforcement agencies because we have not paid for our resident permit for three years now. So, we are under serious threat. We don’t even go out now to avoid being picked up by the police, which could result in possible imprisonment that might last for years.

A female student who pleaded anonymity said: “We are 10 female students staying in one corner of where we found ourselves. The worst of the situation is that we are faced with the arrest threat from the Cyprus Police and other law enforcement agencies because we have not paid for our resident permit for three years now. So, we are under serious threat. We don’t even go out now to avoid being picked up by the police which could result in possible imprisonment that might last for years.”

The students explained that they have pleaded with the government several times, but nothing was done.

Government Reacts

Reacting, the Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara, told BBC Hausa that the government is aware of the condition of its students studying at the International University of Cyprus. But he claimed the government is working hard to resolve it.

READ: Zamfara Farmers To Meet With Bandits For Protection, Access To Farmlands

His words: “We are working to make the balance payment as quickly as possible. Besides, the State Government had an agreement with Cyprus University that the remaining part of the money would be paid as soon as possible.

“Also, these students should know from day one that some challenges might be witnessed in the studies abroad but that does not mean we have abandoned them.”

According to him, the government would settle the arrears in the coming weeks.

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