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RIVERS STUDENTS STUDYING OVERSEAS CRIES OUT IN DISTRESS AS THEY WRITE TO GOV. WIKE

Oversea students under the Rivers state sustainable development agency (RSSDA) scholarship scheme have written home to the Governor of the state stating how critical the situation has been.

The letter dated 18th April, 2016 was sent by Paul Babeye Adden a final year student of one of the foreign universities under the (RSSDA) scholarship scheme.

The letter says thus:

Dear Sir,

CRITICAL FINANCIAL SITUATION OF RSSDA-SPONSORED STUDENTS ABROAD

On behalf of the Rivers State oversea students under the arm of Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA), we would like to thank you for your
continued developments and ongoing projects in the state. We wish you all the best as you lead us to progressive and sustainable development.

As final year students graduating this year, we would like to bring to your notice our present financial situation as a result of non-payment from December 2014 (1 year and 5 months) to date. However, with our current financial position, there is no option left for us to ponder other than cry out for help for survival. We cannot bear it any longer because it is beyond us. We would not make a mountain out of our present situations but rather will declare it as fair as it is.

Most importantly, we are financially broke to the point that even food can no longer be found on our table, this is alarming but it is what we face day after day. Sadly, we cannot remember the last time any of us visited the market to buy food. It is embarrassing for us to inform you that, we now rely on our foreign friends for even food. It is believed that, food is one of the fundamentals of existence, so how do we survive in strange land without food and roof to cover our heads? Transportation to school is now a forgotten story because we have not been able to pay for bus fares;
we cannot even go to school because of non-payment of tuition fees. Everyday our problems are compounding and the challenges are overwhelming.

More so, we have arranged with the landlords to give us sometime to crack a means to pay them their rents but all our efforts were declined, as we owe more than 12 months rent. The landlords have told us that they will use legal actions against us in a bit to get back their money. As a matter of fact, some students have been served with court notice and are expected to appear in court in the following weeks. Most of the students have been evacuated from their apartments because of the non-payment of rents; now more than five students are living in one room just to stay under a roof, some are living on the street, while others look for means of survival.

The situation is unbelievable and unbearable; not getting better and if things are not
put right, we will soon find ourselves all in the street. It is shameful and mind
bugging to inform you that most of the students have been forced to engage in
illegal activities just to make ends meet as a result of Government inability to release funds for them. We really do not know what else to do to help our situations.

Also, In addition to non-payment of students’ upkeep and accommodation
allowances, tuitions have not been paid for couple of years. As a reaction to that, most universities have stopped the RSSDA scholars from attending classes and sitting for exams. In our Institution, the final year medical students have been stopped from attending clinical rotations, meaning they will not be allowed to write their final
examination and may not be able to graduate this year. This trend have continued for so long that we are scared of been evicted from the School. The situation we find ourselves is very critical as our future and education is in jeopardy.

As students, it is difficult for us to concentrate and study in harsh financial conditions, we do hope for a positive change as we face so many uncertainties. Our
condition is now so pitiful that we are becoming hopeless in a foreign land. Also, we would not be able to leave the country, as we are obliged to settle all debts owed and clear every financial commitment.
We are asking for the government to come to our aid as we are totally stranded, hopeless and frustrated. We do not know what will become of us in the next few days without the government resolving this situation as we are facing uncertainties in a foreign land.

Thank you.
Paul Babeye Adden,
For RSSDA overseas sponsored students.

See letter: