The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had approved 100 percent increment on bursary payable to the students of tertiary institutions across the country.
The new bursary increments and other benefits approved by the governor were aimed at supporting educational needs of students of Lagos State origin.
According to the government, the new adjustment was basically to let them cope with the present economic reality across the country.
As gathered, the new bursary approved by the state governor for the students would take effect from 2022/ 2023 academic session.
The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Scholarship Board, Abdur Rahaman Lekki, dropped the hints during a meeting with representatives of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Lagos State Chapter, and National Union of Lagos State Students (NULASS) at the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
The meeting which was held at the instance of the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo- Olu on Education, Tokunbo Wahab, had in attendance, presidents and some Executive members of both the two students union bodies and representatives of the state government.
Lekki also disclosed that the Lagos State Government at the just concluded State Economic Summit known as ‘’Ehingbeti Summit’’ had also approved the resolutions on the establishment of Lagos Diaspora Scholarship Funds.
The new funds, according to him, is aimed at providing scholarship and bursary benefits generally to all Lagos State resident students in tertiary institution in any part of the country to support their education.
While appealing to the students over a little delay in the payment of the remaining 2020/ 2021 and 2021/2022 bursary/ scholarship benefits, the Board Secretary explained that the delay was necessitated by the on-going data- cleansing/verification exercise across all institutions by the State government, just to ensure that only qualified students of the Lagos State origin benefited from the scheme.
He explained that the Lagos State Scholarship Board through the on- going verification and data cleansing exercise discovered that some people who either were no more students or not even students of any higher institution were benefiting from the scheme in a fraudulent way at the expense of the original students of the State that the scheme was meant for.
The Board Secretary assured that prompt payment of both bursary and scholarship benefits for the outstanding years would commence immediately after the on –going data cleansing / verification exercise is completed.
For the avoidance of doubt, Lekki hinted that effective from Monday, October 17, 2022, students of the Lagos State College of Heath Technology (LASCOHET) would get their outstanding payments for 2020/2021 academic year as their Management had completed their verification exercise and forwarded list of its authentic students to the board.
He equally revealed that the Board had scheduled assessment test for fresh beneficiaries for the year 2022/23 scholarship benefit for 29th October, 2022, adding that necessary details have been sent out to all qualified applicants via SMS, E- Mails and other social media platforms.
While allaying the students’ fear that the State government was planning to stop the scheme, the Scholarship Board boss noted that there was no basis to stop the scheme since there was provision for it in the State budget, adding that the year 2023 budget of the State government had captured the new increments and other benefits to make life more bearable for students in their studies.
‘’I want you to remember that the State government just appointed a new Board Secretary to the Lagos State Scholarship Board for the administration of both bursary and scholarship benefits, that is even enough for you to know there was no plan at any time to stop the scheme.
Both bursary and scholarship schemes will continue unstopped for the benefits of our students, rather than stopping it, Mr Governor will continue to improve on it as part of the measures to realize his vision for sustainable educational growth for the State in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda’’ he assured.
In their response, the leadership of the two students bodies, NANS and NULASS represented by their presidents, Olusesi Tolulope ( NANS) and Shasanya Akinola ( NULASS) along with other Exco members dispelled the rumours making the rounds that their members planned to block the Third Mainland Bridge on Monday, October 17 in protest of the delay in the disbursement of the outstanding benefits for the 2020/2021 and 2021/22 academic sessions.
They described as blatant lies, the rumour that students of Lagos State origin planned to disrupt activities in Lagos on Monday October 17, by blocking the ‘Third Mainland Bridge’, noting that their members have absolute confidence in Governor Sanwo –Olu as a responsible governor and father who they could trust for his promise.
The students Unions leaders who presented a letter of assurances from their members to the State government noted that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo- Olu had not only demonstrated commitment to the growth of education in the State through various reforms, but had also ensured prompt and seamless payment of both scholarship and bursary benefits in the past.
The students also commended the governor for payments of all the backlogs inherited by his administration, while dispelling the rumours, the students Unions leaders said the planned protest if there was any was the handiwork of faceless and disgruntled individuals whose stock in trade was falsehood and disturbance of public peace.
Their letter read in part, ’’it has come to the knowledge of the Union that certain miscreants / mischievous persons have sought to destabilize the unity of the students and citizens of the State, by spreading malicious and false information, that the indigenous students of Lagos State are planning a mass protest over the yet to be paid bursary for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 academic sessions‘’ It should be noted that the State government through its Scholarship Board have made bursary payment to a large extent for the 2020/21 academic Session and planned to ensure that the backdated payments as well as those of 2021/2022 Session are paid’’
The State has always reaffirmed its commitment and support under the administration of His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu to the indigenous students by ensuring the seamless disbursement of its bursary and scholarship scheme and as such, it is conspicuous that those behind the false agitation are persons / factions with ulterior motives to disturb the peace of the State and its students community.
“The National Union under the leadership of Comrades Shasanya Akinola and Olusesi Tolulope wishes to reaffirm its unwavering dedication to the indigenous students of the State as efforts are on- going to ensure that, the disbursement of the outstanding payments are made, as evidenced by the last communication of September 7, 2022 between Lagos State Scholarship Board and the National Union of Students with all stakeholders in attendance’’
‘’The Union wishes to use this avenue to inform its members and the community that the date for the 2022 Scholarship Examination for fresh beneficiaries has been scheduled for the 29th of October, 2022, while bursary screening will commence in early November.
“The Students unions’ leaders therefore urged their members to embrace dialogue and continued collaboration as the only weapons that could be used to press home their demands while they shun any form of violence or act that could make them look irresponsible before the public”.