Some Zamfara State students, who are beneficiaries of the state scholarship programme, are at risk of deportation as the government has refused to make payment for their tuition fees.

SaharaReporters gathered that the students who are studying at various universities in China, India, Cyprus, and Sudan have been stranded in those countries because of it.

Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle

The Zamfara State government had in 2020 sponsored 200 students to study in four foreign countries.

According to the consultant of the programme, Dr Jazuli Musa, the government would sponsor the students to study Medicine and Para Medical courses, Engineering and Computer Science, among others.

Musa said out of the number, 21 students would be sponsored to study in China, 70 of them in India, 50 to study in Sudan while the remaining 59 would go to Cyprus.

“We have so far concluded all the screening exercises; we are now giving them orientation,” he had said.

“You know after the announcement of the programme by the state government, we registered over 700 students who indicated their interest.

“We employed some academic staff from the Federal University, Gusau where we conducted the examination for the candidates.

“After the first screening examination, we got 300 qualified candidates while after the second examination, we were able to get 200 students.”

Some of the affected persons, who spoke with SaharaReporters, disclosed that the state government had yet to make any payment towards their programmes, months after travelling to India.

They said the deadlines for payment of their fees had expired and that non-payment of their allowances had turned many of them into beggars.

Some letters sighted by SaharaReporters revealed that some of the universities where the beneficiaries are learning are beginning to stop their programmes while others have also begun processes to have them deported.

“Dear Student, the Accounts department has informed us on 18/02/2021 that you have not cleared the pending dues.

“Kindly clear your dues as soon as possible. Thanks with regards,” one of the letters sent to students read.

Another one read, “It is informed by account department that USD 6250/- is pending against you/your ward.

“You/your ward have not yet cleared the pending dues. Please refer to University Ordinance clause 19.2 terms of registration. 

“University has been lenient so far and has not only allowed you/your ward to attend the online classes but also permitted you to appear at the end of semester examination so that you/your ward's studies do not get hampered.

“Late fee charges are already imposed from February 01, 2022 (Monday).

“Dean, Academic Affair’s office will block all the academic processes of non-registered students on iCloud EMS on 22nd February, 2021.”

The students said they had tried to reach the Special Adviser to the Governor on Scholarship and his Students’ Matters counterpart but failed.

They expressed fear of being deported any moment from now and urged Bello Matawalle, governor of the state to swiftly begin the payment process.

“Some of us have been evicted from our homes, the governor should please come to our rescue,” one of them said.

SaharaReporters had reported how the Zamfara State government gave 15 brand new Hilux vehicles to leaders of different repentant bandits in the state.

It was also reported that the governor approved millions of naira to be given to the 'repentant' bandits as compensation.

The government in its 2021 approved budget earmarked N200 million for its amnesty programme for 'repentant' bandits in 2021.

Matawalle had in 2019 entered a peace agreement with bandits.

The governor said negotiation with the gunmen is the best option for lasting peace in the state. 

Also, the state government recently granted amnesty to Auwalun Daudawa, the leader of the gang of bandits that abducted over 300 schoolboys in the Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.

Daudawa and his gang on December 11, 2020, invaded the school, shooting indiscriminately to scare residents. The operation led to the disappearance of over 300 students.

The abduction happened when President Muhammadu Buhari was visiting his home state of Katsina.

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