By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-The National Association of President’s NYSC Honours Awardees has called on the federal government to come to the aid of its members yet to receive their letters of scholarship despite the approval by President Muhammadu Buhari. The association said 90 awardees were yet to commence their postgraduate studies years after they bagged government scholarship to study at any university of their choice.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, President of the association, Jegede Immumoni lamented the agony the awardees were being made to face in the last couple of years, regretting that a gesture intended to build capacity of the youths is being allowed to go down the drain.
According to her, a total of 164 ex-corps members were conferred with the honour in 2015 (a combined award of 2012, 2013 and 2014), out of which the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) selected 74, leaving 90 out in the cold; a development, she added, led to incessant agitation for redress by the affected awardees, but to no avail.
“Following series of agitations by the abandoned 90 awardees to secure justice by receiving their sponsorship letters and funding like their PTDF counterparts, who are fully enjoying the scholarship award, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the Nigeria Ports Authority, PTDF and Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Federal Scholarship Board to create a dedicated fund to sponsor the scholarship with immediate effect.
“Since June 2016 when President Buhari issued the order, the various agencies defied the directive as they all turned deaf ears to the Presidential mandate. The affected awardees have lost hundreds of thousands of their hard-earned money in securing admissions overseas, as well as struggle for the pursuit of justice over what we feel is a clear display of ‘nobodysm’ meted on the awardees, who seem to lack a voice that will speak of them,” a part of the speech by Immumoni read.
The association also berated the scholarship board for abandoning 16 NYSC scholars who resumed their PhD programmes at universities in the united Kingdom and the United States of America in 2014, stressing that though their scholarship funds had been fully remitted by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Tertiary Education (TETfund), “These scholars are currently stranded abroad with a backlog of unpaid tuitions and living expenses ranging from one to two years.
“The second group of eleven awardees started their PhDs in 2015. They are also stranded in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Their tuition fees and living expernses have not been paid for over two years.”
Consequently, the association called on President Buhari to direct government agencies to resolve the hitches surrounding the uncertainties in the funding of Masters and PhDs of the awardees, to enable them commence their studies without further delay.