Parents of Nigerian scholars in Russia request Tinubu’s assistance

Some of the parents of Nigerian scholars studying in Russia have been increasingly frustrated, and over the weekend, they made an appeal to President Bola Tinubu to look into the reasons for the nine-month delay in the monthly allowance payments to the students in different Russian locations.

The Federal Scholarship Board oversees the Bilateral Education Agreement, which covers the scholars.

Both the Russian and Nigerian governments are obliged to provide a monthly stipend to the students. The host nation is fulfilling its commitments to pay for tuition and accommodation, but since June 2023, the Nigerian government has not provided the allowance intended to cover feeding and other upkeep.

The eight-month stipend has been generated and sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which is the final step in the disbursement process, according to a source at the Nigerian Scholarship Board who provided information on the condition of anonymity.

“The payment is being worked upon, but it is being affected by bureaucracy due to some management changes and the depreciation of the naira value which warrants a make-up through supplementary budget,” the source said.

However when Hakama Sidi Ali, the apex bank’s spokesperson was asked for confirmation on February 24, she promised to reach out. All correspondences afterward were ignored, while a call put across to her yesterday was aborted.

Mr. Kola Benson, a spokesperson for the parents association, stated that since last June, when the students were paid their allowance, they have not been paid, and that most parents had to beg relatives to send minimal financial help to their wards.

In their safe-our-souls appeal to the President, the parents expressed concern that the pupils are being distracted by a lack of funds, and that Nigeria’s current economic woes are hurting their efforts to fill the gap while allowance payments are expected.

“The poor economic situation in Nigeria is making it difficult for many of the parents to do anything meaningful and the children are frustrated.

“We are begging President Bola Tinibu to bail us out so that the children would not be pushed by hunger to do what they are not supposed to do since their families are not in Russia,” a spokesperson for the parents said.

There are currently, over 2,500 Nigerian students studying across the many universities in Russia, particularly in cities like Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Belgorod, Rostov, Voronezh, Kursk, and Samara.