By Chris Steven, Abuja
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, says Nigeria cannot afford to have another form of brain drain by ignoring the plights of Nigerians studying abroad on scholarship.
He warned that such brain drain, if allowed, would not benefit anyone.
“This is another kind of brain drain. The worst part is, this is a brain drain that benefits no one, not even foreign countries,” Saraki said at a meeting with heads of agencies and commissions involved in the payment of scholarship to Nigerian students abroad
We are not even losing the best of these students to foreign lands – we are in danger of losing them, period. If we don’t rectify this situation – let me put it bluntly – we would be sacrificing their futures; and that, is unthinkable.”
“We must ensure that the students that we have sent abroad are able to complete their training and come back home in good time so that they can contribute to the development of our nation.
“However, as we do this, we must also create sustainable and transparent frameworks for the award and management of these scholarships, to give all eligible Nigerians a chance.” He added
Today, I met with representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for the welfare of Nigerian Students on scholarships abroad who are now stranded due to non-payment of their living allowances and tuition fees by relevant government agencies.
Saraki, at the meeting directed the Federal Scholarship Board (FSB) to present a comprehensive report of all Nigerian students on scholarship abroad and their outstanding entitlements to the relevant committees.
This, he explained would enable the Senate make appropriations for their settlement.
“Additionally, I have called for a comprehensive review of all scholarship policies in the country — through oversight — in order save Nigeria from future embarrassment.
“All concerned parties must realize that we have sent many of our best and brightest minds abroad, hence, we must be able to solve this problem of non-payment of scholarships here at home. Moving forward, we cannot allow bureaucracy, bottle necks, or anything to stop us from paying our students scholarships.
“Under the Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) entered into by Nigeria and several foreign governments, some of the host countries have responsibility for part of the upkeep of Nigerian students – while Nigeria must necessarily fulfill her own part. There is a need for the MDAs to look at our responsibility to our students in the different countries, and devise ways of making good on our part of such agreements.
We must recognise that these students are currently in dire conditions all over the world, represent a sizable component of the future of Nigeria – her dreams of progress and development.”