Olaleye Aluko, Abuja
Some former members of the National Youth Service Corps, who were given presidential awards for scholarships, have protested in Abuja over the alleged failure of the Federal Government to redeem the pledge since 2015.
The awardees protested at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, bearing placards reading, “President, save our souls”; “We want PTDF to fund our scholarship”; “Dialogue has reached a dead end; we have been abandoned for over three years.”
The ex-corps members, under the National Association of NYSC Presidential Honour Awardees, said only 74 out of 164 awardees had got the scholarships, which was awarded since 2015.
Speaking for the protesters, the National President of the group, Suzanne Jegede, said, “Mr. President should direct the appropriate ministries, deparments and agencies to resolve the uncertainties surrounding the funding of the master’s and doctoral degrees of the awardees, whose scholarships have been approved by the present administration.
“The Tertiary Education Trust Fund and the Petroleum Development Training Fund were to provide funds for this scholarship scheme, while the National Universities Commission was to act as the clearing house for the scholars under TETFund.”
In her reaction, the spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Priscilla Ihuoma, said government was aware of the development and had made budgetary provisions for the shortfalls in the 2018 budget.
She said, “The Federal Ministry of Education is requesting for N56bn in the 2018 budget for this purpose and we are hopeful that it would be provided.
“The Presidential directive was that the NUC should hand over the affairs of the Presidential Scholarships to the Federal Scholarship Board because the NUC and other funding agencies, like the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, have no legal backing to fund the scheme.”
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