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Regional News of Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Source: Today NG

Kano agency probes N7 billion foreign scholarship programme

The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission has launched an investigation into how funds meant for the state’s foreign scholarship scheme about six years ago were utilised.

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje said he has settled the sum of N7 billion of foreign scholarship programme he inherited from the previous administration that initiated the programme, yet the students are still complaining of being under financial pressure.

Under the programme, which was begun by Ganduje’s predecessor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, Kano students are sponsored to study in foreign universities in China, Cyprus, Egypt, Uganda, Sudan and India.

It was learnt that the N7 billion spent by the Ganduje administration was meant tuition fees, accommodation, resident permit, books, medical insurance and ‘upkeep allowance.

The state government has accused contractors of the programme of allegedly misappropriating the funds, even as they mount pressure on the government to release more funds, which it said prompted the investigation.

“The governor is worried about the unending demand on the issue (scholarship) which ought to have ended by now,” the anti-corruption commission chairman Muhyi Magaji revealed in a press conference on Tuesday.

Magaji said the governor has mandated the anti-graft body to monitor the process of the foreign scholarship programme and its current position.

“The state government has involved the commission to supervise, investigate and take charge of the lingering foreign crisis, which is becoming very worrisome by the day.

“The commission’s intervention reveals that consultants were used as intermediaries, which makes the programme easy to be manipulated.

“Allegations exist that fraudulent activities bedevilled the programme and some of the hardships encountered by the students are orchestrated by some of the consultants and political gladiators involved,” Magaji said.

He further revealed that there is no standard model of financing the programme by the government, because, at the initial stage, the SSG’s office, Ministry of Higher Education and the Scholarship Board were running the programme, which makes it difficult to keep records.

Magaji, however, announced that, while investigation has begun to unravel the truth, the government has released N144 million to the commission to meet the demands of the students studying abroad.

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