The National Union of Lagos State Students has pleaded with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State to release funds for the payment of bursary and scholarship grants to members of the union.
The National President of NULASS, Bisola Okoya, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Monday.
According to her, members of the union are becoming restive in their various institutions and are looking forward to being paid their entitlements for 2017/2018.
Okoya said that many indigent students depended so much on the scholarships because they could no longer sustain themselves in their institutions of higher learning.
She noted that the union believed that the new government would consider the hardship in the country and release the funds to the beneficiaries, to enable them to complete their education on schedule.
The NULASS chief said that several letters were written to the immediate past government on the issues, all to no avail.
According to her, students from the Epe Division in Lagos State College of Health Technology and Law School, are the only beneficiaries of the 2017/2018 scholarships.
She accused the last administration of operating selective payment to some students.
She said: “Our members are becoming restive in their various institutions and are looking forward to being paid.
“We submitted letters to several offices. We even went to the extent of looking for people who were close to former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, to persuade him to pay us. All to no avail.
“About two weeks before the handing over to the new government, we also wrote a reminder to the government but nothing was done.
“The last time we received money was for the 2016/2017 session. Very few students received payment for 2017/2018.
“Your excellency, sir, we are appealing to you as our father to intervene and save our soul as many people depend on the money for survival in their education.”
Okoya noted that the union had, on June 13, written a letter of appeal to the incumbent governor, which was received in the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tayo Ayinde.
She said that up till the eve of the departure of the past administration, it kept promising that it would release funds to that effect, which never materialised.
The union president noted that at the last stakeholders’ meeting held with the board, the students were promised that the new government would settle the outstanding scholarship and bursary awards, since government was a continuum.
Steve Oshinowo, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Scholarship Board, while reacting to the development, said the board was working assiduously toward getting the funds released.
He described government as a continuum, saying that the new government would continue to support students in their various institutions through bursaries and scholarships.
Oshinowo pleaded for more time for the new administration to settle down, noting that soon, funds would be released because of the high premium the current government placed on education.
He said: “Government is a continuum; like I have told the students, if the past administration did not pay, the new government will pay.
“I believe before the end of the month or next month, something should happen. I am appealing with the students to give us time.
“The board will soon meet with his excellency and these issues will be discussed.”
Oshinowo noted that the State Government was committed to improving the welfare of students and would soon commence processing 2018/2019 bursary and scholarship.
NAN reports that eight representatives from eight institutions across the country in April wrote a petition to Kazeem Adeniji, the former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State Ministry of Justice over the issue.
The students had in April said that out of the 10,585 beneficiaries, only 2,106 students had received their payments.
The total beneficiaries include 1,394 local scholarships; 9,188 students on bursary and three foreign scholarships.