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The National Union of Lagos State Students (NULASS) on Wednesday, December 5 staged a peaceful protest to Governor’s Office (Lagos House), Ikeja over the unexplained delay in payment of 2016, 2017 and 2018 bursary and local scholarship to beneficiaries and awardees.
The beneficiaries are students of Lagos-origin in various higher institutions of learning in Nigeria and overseas. Paying bursaries to these set of students has been a long-time tradition of state and it dated back to 1980 when the scheme was initiated by Lateef Jakande administration. Subsequent administrations in the state have kept this scheme and considered it a noble one.
It would be recalled that the students had threatened to embark on social disturbance over the non-payment of their bursary for the 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/18 academic sessions.
The cause of the issue
According to NULASS, Governor Ambode announced on October 16, 2018, that his administration had released a sum of N683 million for payment of bursary, local and foreign scholarship to students of Lagos-origin across Nigeria and overseas. This fund is expected to cover payments for arrears of bursaries and scholarships.
Fifty-two (52) days after this announcement the students claimed they are yet to receive any payment from the government.
“It is with burning, melting, and embittered hearth that the apex body of the only Indigenous Students of Lagos State origin – National Union of Lagos State Students’ (NULASS), which comprises of the five divisions of the state (Ikorodu, Badagry, Ikeja, Lagos Island and Epe) rise on our feet’s to express our pains and pour our grievances on the lackadaisical and ungodly attitude of the state government towards the indigenous students.
“The government has turned deaf ears to the yearnings and chants on the urgent need to roll-out payment of the bursary and local scholarship awards.”
“It is sardonic, lugubrious and a show of state of dismay that the Lagos state government can be so toiling, deceitful and scamming the populace by using the media to trick over 6.2 million students of Lagos-origin on bursary and local scholarships. The Lagos state government on 16th of October, 2018 falsely announced to the release of the sum of N683 million for payment of bursary, local and foreign scholarships.”
The Lagos State Scholarship Board (LSSB) hinted that its accounts are yet to be credited with the stated fund for onward disbursement to beneficiaries.
The Lagos state government response
The protesting students were addressed by the officials of the government including the State Accountant General, Special Adviser to the Governor on Education Mr Obafela Bank- Olemoh, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Executive Secretary of LSSB among others.
According to Mr Ojoare Balaji, NULASS President LASU Chapter: “The government has assured us that our voices have been heard and promised to pay as soon as possible. There is no time frame for this promised payment.”
Based on this, the body extended the ultimatum till Friday, December 7.