Abuse of Rivers State Oversea Scholars – Neglected Students Cry Out!

Bayo Ajibola

RSSDA

Mail was sent in yesterday by the Oversea Scholars of  the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA).

Dear NP,

I’ll like you to grant us the favour of using your blog to bring to the notice of  the public (and Rivers State Gov’t of Nigeria) the hardship, abuse, humiliation, etc that we (the oversea scholars of Rivers State under the sponsorship of the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA)) have faced and are still facing in recent time as a result of their inability to fulfil their obligations.

For eight (8) months now and even more (as the case may be for some students), the oversea scholars of RSSDA have not been paid their allowances neither has the agency paid their school fees. This has caused a lot of problems for the students especially for those of us that were in final year.

Final year which is the most critical and important academic year in the UK education system was like hell on earth for us. We were subjected to all sorts of humiliations, sufferings; jumping from one menial job to another, working everyday under the cold winter and rainy spring to survive. We could not even afford a good square-meal per day (it was worse than that).  It even degenerated to a point that some schools had to offer Food Bank vouchers in order to assist us. Some students were chased out of school for not paying their school fees and some threatened to be deported. We were psychologically, physically, and academically abused.

We read with hunger in our stomachs, striving hard to ensure that we learn and achieve good results. Frankly speaking, it was very difficult to study. Our grades started depreciating by the day. As a matter of fact, some of the students even failed some of their modules and will possibly NOT graduate this year. Our landlords were always on our necks, some of us were thrown out of our houses. Those of us that were allowed to stay in our houses had our electricity and gas systems turned off (in the cold winter).

Messages were sent on countless occasions to RSSDA but they never responded. RSSDA could not even give us one good reason why were being owed. All they could say the last time they managed to respond was that their was no money (lack of accountability). There was no money, yet they still earn their salaries (later they claim to be our father), will they treat their own children like this,  their children spend more than £400 (which they pay us per month) for a day shopping, these are stories for another day anyway.

It is quite ridiculous that upon these maltreatments, RSSDA still expects her scholars to graduate with the best of results and should anything go wrong with any student along the line, they will have fund to book for the student’s return ticket back to Nigeria.

The deed has already been done, RSSDA has caused a lot of harm on us (some of which cannot be compensated no matter the price).

The big trouble ahead now is that if RSSDA does not pay us all they owe us (school fees and allowances) we cannot graduate as at when due. We might stay longer than necessary in the UK as we cannot leave the country without paying up our debts (house rents, etc). We might possibly be deported back to Nigeria. We are going to be in more trouble this time.

We are calling on the attention of the public (and Nigeria as a Nation) to please come to our aid as we are running out of time. Education is a right and NOT a privilege. We did no harm to go to school. We merited the scholarship. I (the writer) can boldly stand on any ground to defend my scholarship and my degree.

God bless Nigeria, Long may she reign…

Oversea Scholars of RSSDA.


Bayo Ajibola

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