Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved a 100 per cent increment in the bursary to students of the state origin in all tertiary institutions across the country.
The new bursary increment and other benefits approved by the governor were aimed at supporting educational needs of students of the state origin.
The Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Scholarship Board, Abdur Rahaman Lekki, who dropped the hint during a meeting with representatives of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Lagos State Chapter and National Union of Lagos State Students (NULASS) at the state secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, said that the new adjustment was basically to let the students cope with the present economic reality across the country.
It was gathered that the meeting about the bursary, which was held at the instance of the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Education, Tokunbo Wahab, would take effect from the 2022/2023 academic session.
Lekki disclosed that the state government at the just concluded state Economic Summit known as ‘’Ehingbeti Summit’ had also approved the resolutions on the establishment of Lagos Diaspora Scholarship Funds.
The new funds, according to him, is aimed at providing scholarship and bursary benefits generally to all Lagos State students in tertiary institutions in any part of the country to support their education.
While appealing to the students over a little delay in the payment of the remaining 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 bursary/scholarship benefits, the board secretary explained that the delay was necessitated by the on-going data- cleansing/verification exercise across all institutions by the state government, just to ensure that only qualified students of the state origin benefited from the scheme.
He explained that the Lagos State Scholarship Board, through the on- going verification and data cleansing exercise, discovered that some people, who were not students of any higher institution were benefiting from the scheme at the expense of the students the scheme was meant for.
The Board Secretary assured them that prompt payment of both bursary and scholarship benefits for the outstanding years would commence immediately after the on-going data cleansing/ verification exercise is completed.
For the avoidance of doubt, Lekki hinted that effective from Monday, October 17, 2022, students of the Lagos State College of Heath Technology (LASCOHET) would get their outstanding payments for 2020/2021 academic year, as their management had completed their verification exercise and forwarded the list of its authentic students to the board.
He equally revealed that the board had scheduled assessment test for fresh beneficiaries for the 2022/23 scholarship benefit for 29th October, 2022, adding that necessary details have been sent out to all qualified applicants via SMS, e-mails and other social media platforms.
While allaying the students’ fear that the state government was planning to stop the scheme, the Scholarship Board boss noted that there was no plan to stop the scheme since there was provision for it in the state budget, adding that the 2023 budget of the state government had captured the new increment and other benefits to make life more bearable for students in their studies.
‘’I want you to remember that the state government just appointed a new Board Secretary to the Lagos State Scholarship Board for the administration of both bursary and scholarship benefits, that is even enough for you to know there was no plan at any time to stop the scheme.
“Both bursary and scholarship schemes will continue unstopped for the benefits of our students, rather than stopping it. Mr Governor will continue to improve on it as part of the measures to realize his vision for sustainable educational growth for the state in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda’’ he said.
In their response, the leadership of the two students’ bodies, NANS and NULASS represented by their presidents, Olusesi Tolulope (NANS) and Shasanya Akinola (NULASS), along with other exco members dispelled the rumours making the rounds that their members planned to block the Third Mainland Bridge on Monday, October 17 in protest of the delay in the disbursement of the outstanding benefits for the 2020/2021 and 2021/22 academic sessions.
They described as blatant lies the rumour that students of the state origin planned to disrupt activities in Lagos by blocking the Third Mainland Bridge, noting that their members have absolute confidence in Governor Sanwo–Olu as a responsible governor and father whom they could trust for his promise.
The student union leaders presented letters of assurance from their members to the state government, noting that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had not only demonstrated commitment to the growth of education in the state through various reforms but had also ensured prompt and seamless payment of both scholarship and bursary benefits in the past.
“It has come to the knowledge of the union that certain miscreants / mischievous persons have sought to destabilize the unity of the students and citizens of the state, by spreading malicious and false information, that the indigenous students of Lagos State are planning a mass protest over the yet-to-be-paid bursary for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 academic sessions.
“It should be noted that the state government through its Scholarship Board have made bursary payment to a large extent for the 2020/21 academic session and planned to ensure that the backdated payments as well as those of 2021/2022 session are paid,‘’ they stated.
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