Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Nigerian Students Stranded in Cuba Over Non-payment of Allowances

Nigerian students under the Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) programme of the Federal Scholarship Board in Cuba, has condemned the incessant late arrival of their stipends.

The BEA scheme is a joint programme run by the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with governments of other countries including Cuba, China, Russia, Morocco, Algeria, Ukraine.

In the scheme, outstanding students from all the states of the federation are nominated by the Nigerian government to the foreign governments.

In a statement signed by the Nigerian students president in Cuba, Evelyn Balogun–Arogunjo, it said: “Since January, we have been going through hell and especially for graduates of this year who have been asked to vacate the school premises with the obligation to rent houses to live in and accommodation is extremely expensive.

“In the last eleven months, we have not received our stipends from the Federal Scholarship Board (FSB), Abuja. Not a kobo or a single cent.

“Having not received a single cent in the last eleven months from the government that sent us abroad, how are we expected to survive?

“Due to Cuba economic restrictions, we do not have the right or permission to work nor receive money from outside for those who have the opportunity compared to other Nigerian students on scholarship in other countries, we only depend on stipends promised by the federal scholarship board.”

The statement added that “Nigerian students on scholarship in other countries have all been paid except for us in Cuba and this is always the case.

“The graduates always receive stipends of eight months in their final year which is from January to August due to the fact that we are expected to be out of the country of residence by the end of August but now we are currently four months passed the expected date of departure, we are now in the obligation to pay rents monthly till when all allowances are sent.

“Students were promised flight ticket fees back home after their third year of career during the period of vacation which never arrived.

“It is impossible to pay for our accommodation for the last four months from the allowance supposedly being sent due to the fact that the last four months was never budgeted in our stipends for this years.

“We the students with the assistance of the Nigerian Embassy here in Havana Cuba have done everything possible to communicate with the present Executive Director of the Federal Scholarship Board Mrs. Ifeoma Agunwah through letters, calls, social media, but no concern has been shown about our present situation.
“Also with the expiration of our identification cards, our cost of living has quadrupled due to the fact that our status automatically changes to tourist one.”


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