Monday 17 October 2016

Nigerian Students in Russia Protest Over 12 Months Unpaid Stipends

A number of Nigerian students in Russia have literally been left in the cold in Moscow by the federal government and the Nigerian embassy in the Russian capital.
The students are beneficiaries of the Bilateral Educational Agreement with Russia, a scholarship initiative of the Nigerian government managed by the education ministry which provides funding for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in selected countries.

The students have accused the federal government of neglect and failing to keep its promises towards them.
They allege that their monthly stipends have been left unpaid since October 2015, a situation that has exposed them to untold hardship.

A number of the students gathered together for a protest on Monday at the Nigerian embassy in Moscow but were ignored by the embassy officials and left in the cold to contend with a -2° temperature for close to two hours before anyone bothered to address them.

The student leaders were at some point invited in but others were left out in the cold for another hour before the officials stepped out to address the students.
When the chargĂ© d’affaires at the embassy eventually addressed the students, he complained that they had not come to the embassy with a written petition addressed to the ministry of education.

The students have made previous appeals to the federal government to pay their stipends. A report by This Day in August indicated that the Association of Scholarship Students in Russia had through its president, Jenny Onyemachi, pleaded with the government to keep its part of the deal as Russia had always paid their tuition fees.
She also lamented that some Nigerian students in Russia were forced to borrow from students from other countries in order to survive.

“This is the toughest time for us. We don’t have direct access to the scholarship board in Russia, besides they don’t fund our stipends,”
she had said.

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