Kebbi den­tal stu­dents in In­dia de­nied certs over un­paid fees

Daily Trust - - CRIME - From Is­mail Ade­bayo, Birnin Kebbi

The con­tro­versy sur­round­ing Kebbi State Den­tal stu­dents study­ing in In­dia whose cer­tifi­cates were with­held by the univer­sity over non-pay­ment of hos­tel fees and up­keep al­lowances by the state schol­ar­ship board has con­tin­ued to gen­er­ate con­cern.

Though the Com­mis­sioner for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion in the state, Pro­fes­sor Mukhtar Umar Bunza, in a let­ter to the au­thor­i­ties of Bharati Vidyapeeh Univer­sity in In­dia, dated 14/03/2018 said the tu­ition and other fees ap­pli­ca­ble to the stu­dents in­clud­ing those on in­tern­ship have al­ready been pro­cessed and await­ing the ap­proval of the state gover­nor, the stu­dents have again raised alarm, claim­ing that their up­keep al­lowances were yet to be paid months after the com­mis­sioner promised the school au­thor­i­ties.

When our cor­re­spon­dent sought the com­ment of the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, Dr. Muhammed Isa Sama, on the mat­ter he de­clined com­ment but re­ferred Daily Trust to the Act­ing Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary of the state schol­ar­ship board.

When our cor­re­spon­dent con­tacted the Act­ing Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary, Malam Ab­bas Muhammed Birnin Kebbi, he said “Only two of the nine den­tal stu­dents be­ing spon­sored by the state govern­ment are presently in In­dia be­cause they had to re­peat their cour­ses. The re­main­ing seven are in Kebbi now; some of them came to my of­fice last week.”

“What I don’t un­der­stand is why peo­ple who have been un­der govern­ment spon­sor­ship for over four years are now com­plain­ing about tu­ition fees and up­keep al­lowances and even writ­ing let­ters to me­dia houses when their files are al­ready be­fore the gover­nor for ap­proval. If they think it is by writ­ing let­ter to Daily Trust that will help to re­solve their mat­ters they should con­tinue,” he stated.

The chal­lenges fac­ing the Kebbi State’s 15 MBBS and nine den­tal stu­dents in an In­dian univer­sity wors­ened when some top of­fi­cials al­legedly con­nived with some bureau de change traders in Kano to di­vert part of the N137 mil­lion re­leased by the state govern­ment to set­tle up­keep al­lowances.

Of­fi­cials in­volved in the mat­ter were ques­tioned by the po­lice and those found guilty were said to have been dis­ci­pline, a source said.

The MBBS and seven den­tal stu­dents have grad­u­ated while the re­main­ing two den­tal stu­dents would soon grad­u­ate. How­ever the cer­tifi­cates of all the den­tal stu­dents were held over non-pay­ment of hos­tel fees.

The den­tal stu­dents, had in an open let­ter in April signed by two of their lead­ers, Nura Sa­maila and Allyassa U. Ibrahim, called the at­ten­tion of Gover­nor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to their plight and suf­fer­ing in In­dia.

They claimed in the let­ter that be­cause of the re­fusal of the board to pay their 2016/2017 up­keep al­lowance it has been dif­fi­cult for them to set­tle their hos­tel fees and their cer­tifi­cates were be­ing held by the univer­sity au­thor­i­ties.

How­ever, in a swift re­ac­tion, a for­mer com­mis­sioner for higher ed­u­ca­tion, Al­haji Ab­dul­lahi Mai-Gari Dakingari, de­bunked their claims. He de­scribed it as un­true and that they couldn’t be suf­fer­ing and stranded in In­dia.

“Th­ese stu­dents you are talk­ing about were in my of­fice this morn­ing. Their is­sue is be­fore the gover­nor and I am only wait­ing for his ap­proval. How can they claim they are in In­dia their tu­ition fees and when they have fin­ished their stud­ies and are al­ready in Kebbi?”

Wor­ried by the de­vel­op­ment, Gover­nor Bagudu dur­ing its 2018 bud­get pre­sen­ta­tion at the state House of As­sem­bly said the state has been pay­ing its over­seas stu­dents schol­ar­ship promptly ex­cept stu­dents in In­dia be­cause of the sharp prac­tices by some top of­fi­cials of the Min­istry of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and the state schol­ar­ship board. “Ma­jor ac­tions have been taken against the of­fi­cials who tam­pered with the fund meant for the stu­dents’ tu­ition fees and al­lowances. I will per­son­ally en­sure that their fees are paid soon,” he said.

In the let­ter to the univer­sity, the govern­ment re­stated its com­mit­ment to the timely set­tle­ment of its spon­sored stu­dents’ tu­ition and up-keep al­lowances.

It reads in part: “Con­se­quent upon this, we are re­quest­ing the man­age­ment of your univer­sity to re­lease all doc­u­ments re­lat­ing to the MBBS grad­uands on re­ceipt of the bal­ance of their tu­ition fees so that they could re­turn home im­me­di­ately and at­tend to other en­gage­ments, no­tably writ­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion ex­am­i­na­tions of the Med­i­cal and Den­tal Coun­cil of Nige­ria sched­uled to take place in April 2018”.

The state govern­ment main­tained that the pay­ment of the stu­dents’ fees was treated on pri­or­ity bases with each case on its merit. “To this ex­tent, there­fore, the bal­ance of tu­ition fees of th­ese 15 MBBS stu­dents to the tune of US $46,515 as per your records has al­ready been ap­proved by the Kebbi State Govern­ment,” the higher ed­u­ca­tion com­mis­sioner said in the let­ter.

The govern­ment also stated the cut-off date for the pay­ment of the re­main­ing 2017/18 al­lowances of the den­tal stu­dents.

Pro­fes­sor Mukhtar Umar Bunza

Gov Abubakar Atiku Bagudu

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