The National Association of Nigerian Students in Diaspora (NANS Diaspora) has called for the immediate intervention of the Federal Government pay stipends for Nigerian students abroad under the Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) Scholarship.

NANS Diaspora president, Comrade Chris Juwon Fayomi who made the appeal in a statement, also urged the Minister of Education to expedite the disbursement of stipends to the Nigerian students in Russia, China, Morocco, Algeria, Hungary and Venezuela. “These students face severe financial challenges due to the withholding of their 11-month stipends, which has been a persistent issue since early last year,” he said.

Fayomi, in coordination with the Nigerian Students Ambassador, John Aikeremiokha and the leadership of the Union of Nigerian Bilateral Education Agreement Scholars (UNBEAS) reported that despite reaching out to the scholarship board and other organisations responsible for the welfare of Nigerian students on bilateral scholarships in over six countries, the situation remains unresolved.

“Students across these countries are experiencing significant hardship due to the lack of financial support. In Morocco, students struggle to pay their rent, often delaying payments for months. In China, students who arrived in April and May 2023 have yet to receive any stipends. The increased cost of living in Russia, combined with sanctions, places additional pressure on students. In Venezuela, the ongoing crisis creates a challenging environment for scholars.

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The lack of adequate accommodation, transportation and other essential amenities, coupled with the global rise in the cost of living, severely hampers students’ academic performance and overall well-being. Many of these students come from families with limited means or no additional support and the high exchange rates further diminish the value of any funds sent from home.

The inability to supplement their income due to employment restrictions in host countries exacerbates their financial difficulties. As a result, students are forced to divert their attention from academic pursuits to survival concerns such as food, transportation, and medical expenses,” he said.

He added: “NANS Diaspora implores the government and relevant authorities to address these concerns and release the stipends without further delay. The prolonged delays have not only affected the students’ academic performance but have also led to financial instability and emotional distress.”

Fayomi urged immediate action to rectify this situation and provide the necessary support for Nigerian students abroad, as he emphasised the importance of prioritising the students’ welfare and academic success to ensure a brighter future for these young scholars.