Nigerian Medical Students on Scholarship Arrested for Stealing
Two of the Sixteen Nigerian medical students studying in St Vincent and Grenadines in the Caribbeans have been arrested after they were caught stealing.
The students who were awarded scholarships in 2013, under the Rivers State Scholarship schemes, resorted to stealing and nefarious activities to survive due to lack of funds.
The medical students complained that the government abandoned them to their own devices for close to 2 years now, allegedly refusing to pay their tuition and starving them of their monthly upkeep allowances.
According to this report, the final year medical students are billed to graduate on 14 October but have been denied the chance to complete the last round of their clinical rotations because of unpaid tuition.
They lamented that they have been reduced to begging for alms to feed and are now living on the streets as their landlords have ejected them for failing to pay rent.
Promise Adimele Amaechi, one of the medical scholars in the Caribbean, narrated his ordeal to newsmen while begging the government to intervene.
“We are supposed to graduate in October this year, but due to non-payment of our school fees, the school authorities have stopped us from our clinical clerkships.
“The school said we can’t graduate if our school fees are not paid, hence the school has to stop us from completing our remaining clinical rotations.
‘’Moreover, because our upkeep allowances are not paid, we can not feed and pay our rent. Because some of our landlords think we could leave the country without paying them, most students’ travelling documents have been seized and legal action taken against us to recover the debts.
“Two students among us who recently engaged in stealing and fraud in order to make ends meet, were arrested. As I speak to you, I have not eaten for the past three days, this is how bad the situation is with us.”
Abiye Datoru, 28, one of the scholars from Okrika Local Government Area, Rivers State said the scholarship has become a cursed blessing with the government’s refusal to fulfill its promises.
‘’We are now known as debtors, bad tenants, sick and abandoned children. Food in itself is a luxury we get when we visit our friends who by the way, now hide their food when we visit. Transportation is something we don’t even bother talking about.”
The Executive Director of Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, RSSDA, Mr Larry Pepple, confirmed the situation stating:
‘’Since I took over as the Executive Director of RSSDA in January this year, I met backlog of old tuition and backlog of unpaid living allowances. As at today, it has clocked 17 months that the scholars have not received their allowances.”
Pepple noted that only the expenses will be borne by the government as 328 others have returned home to continue their education due to the crippling economic situation.
‘’The ones that are in the final year, the governor has given approval for everything to be paid to them so that they can conclude and return. But unfortunately, this approval as we speak, is yet to translate to cash, because of the limited resources. We are currently working with the Minister of Finance,’’ he said.
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