Since the beginning of the current administration, the Benue State government has distributed over N400 million in bursaries and scholarships to students in the state.
Dr. Isaac Igbe, Executive Secretary of the State Scholarship Board, stated on Monday that over 12,000 students had benefited from the yearly scholarship.
Dr. Igbe, who refuted allegations made by Comrade Yoosu Skyt, claiming to be the Universal President of the National Union of Benue State Students, NUBESS, that Benue students were owed backlogs of bursaries, stated that the Governor Samuel Ortom-led administration had done so much for Benue students and prioritized their welfare “far more than what any other government did in the past.”
According to him, “this government has paid bursary to Benue students seven times and this came after the government slashed the application fees and also ensure 100 percent increment in the bursary allowance.
“Before the arrival of this government, students received a regular scholarship of N5,000, which was increased to N10,000. The N1,200 application fee has also been reduced to N500.”
The Executive Secretary, while acknowledging that the outbreak of COVID-19 and the economic downturn impacted the board’s activities due to a lack of funds, stated that the government had not failed in its commitment to the welfare of Benue students.
He stated that the board was already putting measures in place to pay bursaries to students, emphasizing that the government’s efforts must be appreciated by all and not twisted for political reasons.
Also, the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Saawuan Tarnongo said “we are in political times so you can expect such allegations from any student who has made himself available to be used by politicians. The claim that the government did not pay scholarships was obviously false and without foundation.”
Meanwhile, Comrade Jennifer Ornguga, the President of NUBESS whose election last December was said to have been monitored by relevant security agencies, dismissed the allegation as well as Comrade Skyt’s claim that he was the NUBESS factional leader.
“We have no faction in NUBESS because I was elected by popular vote of Benue students, and my election was recognized by all relevant bodies,” she said.
“So Skyt did not speak on behalf of Benue students because he does not lead any of them, and he did not speak on behalf of my leadership.”
Skyt stated in the statement, among other things, that his NUBESS faction had voted no confidence in the state’s current administration for failing to pay students’ bursaries.