Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has approved a 100% increase in bursaries for students of Lagos State origin enrolled in tertiary institutions across the country.
Mr Abdur Rahaman Lekki, Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Scholarship Board, said in a statement on Sunday that the increase will take effect in the 2022/ 2023 academic session.
Lekki stated that he had previously informed representatives of the Lagos State Chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the National Union of Lagos State Students (NULASS) at a meeting in Alausa, Ikeja.
He stated that the meeting was called at the request of Mr Tokunbo Wahab, Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo- Olu on Education.
According to Lekki, the meeting was attended by the presidents and some executive members of the two student union organisations, NANS and NULAS, as well as representatives from the state government.
He stated that the 100% bursary increase and other advantages were intended to help the educational needs of students from Lagos state in order for them to cope with the current economic reality.
Lekki also revealed that the government has adopted resolutions on the establishment of the Lagos Diaspora Scholarship Fund during the recently concluded State Economic Summit known as the “Ehingbeti Summit.”
According to him, the scholarship fund aims to provide scholarship and bursary advantages to all Lagos state resident students enrolled in tertiary institutions in any part of the country to help them further their studies.
He appealed to the students over a minor delay in the payment of the remaining bursary/scholarship benefits for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022.
The board secretary explained that the delay was caused by the state government’s current data-cleansing/verification process across all institutions.
“The ongoing data cleansing/verification operation is to verify that only qualified students from Lagos state benefited from the scheme,” he explained.
Lekki said that the Lagos state scholarship board detected a fraudulent act at the expense of the original students of the state that the scheme was intended for during the ongoing verification and data cleansing activity.
He stated that it was observed that certain people who were no longer students or were not even students at any higher education institution were taking advantage of the system.
The board secretary stated that payment of outstanding bursary and scholarship benefits would begin promptly after the ongoing procedure was concluded.
For the avoidance of doubt, he stated that students at the Lagos State College of Health Technology (LASCOHET) will receive their outstanding payments for the 2020/2021 academic year beginning Monday, October 17.
He stated that the administration of LASCOHET had completed the student verification process and had provided the list of its genuine students to the board.
Lekki further stated that the Board had arranged assessment examinations for new beneficiaries of the scholarship benefit for the year 2022/2023 for October 29, and that all essential information had been delivered to qualifying applicants.
While assuaging students’ fears that the state government would scrap the initiative, he stated that there was no reason to do so because it was included in the state budget.
According to him, the state government’s 2023 budget included the new increase and other advantages to make life easier for students while they study.
“I want you to keep in mind that the state government recently appointed a new board secretary to the Lagos state scholarship board to oversee both bursary and scholarship benefits.”
“That should have been enough for you to realise there was never a plan to end the scheme.” Bursaries and scholarships will continue unabated for the benefit of our students.
“Rather than halting it, the governor will continue to improve on it as part of his vision for sustained educational progress in the state, in accordance with the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda,” he stated.
The leadership of the two student groups, NANS and NULASS, responded by dispelling rumours that their members planned to block the Third Mainland Bridge on Oct. 17 in protest over the delay in the payout of outstanding benefits for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 academic sessions.
Their presidents, Olusesi Tolulope (NANS) and Shasanya Akinola (NULASS), as well as other exco members, were present.
They dismissed rumours of a demonstration by students from Lagos state, adding that their members had complete faith in Sanwo-Olu as a responsible governor and father whom they could rely on to keep his commitments.
The leaders of the students’ union presented the state government with a letter of assurance from their members.
They claimed that Sanwo-administration Olu’s had not only showed a dedication to educational advancement via different reforms, but had also provided fast and seamless distribution of both scholarship and bursary benefits in the past.
The kids also praised the governor for clearing the backlogs inherited by his government.
They said that any planned demonstration, if there was one, was the product of anonymous and dissatisfied individuals whose stock in trade was deception and disruption of public order.