The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has directed the Federal Scholarship Board to process the payment of scholarship stipends to Nigerian students studying in Russia.
Mr Adamu gave the directive when the Nigerian Ambassador to Russia and Belarus, Steve Ugba, paid him a working visit in his office in Abuja.
According to a statement from the education ministry on Thursday, Mr Adamu said the government would prioritise the welfare of the students in the diaspora.
Mr Ugba said the Nigerian embassy in Russia has contributed immensely to the wellbeing of the students in Russia.
Premium Times reported that the federal government owes over 12 months’ allowances to Nigerian students on a federal government scholarship.
The students were sent to study abroad under the Bilateral Education Agreement of the Federal Scholarship Board (FSB) programme, a parastatal of the federal ministry of education.
The scholarship is awarded to different cadres of students (undergraduate and postgraduate) who are sent to countries with which Nigeria has such bilateral agreement.
Under the bilateral agreement, the host countries take care of the students’ tuition and accommodation, while the government of the mother country (in this case Nigeria) takes full charge of the students living allowances, which is to be paid monthly.
Countries involved in such educational understanding with Nigeria include Russia, Morocco, Algeria, Serbia, Hungary, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Cuba, Romania, Ukraine, Japan, Macedonia; Mexico, and South Korea.
Safe learning environment
Also in a separate statement, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said the Nigerian government would continue to ensure safe learning environments for all students in the country.
He said the government would no longer tolerate bullying in schools.
He said this while addressing some youth under the aegis of “I am the Future of Nigeria Youth Initiative”. The initiative was founded by two sisters and is being supported by the Ministry of Education, Federal Capital Territory Authority, Nigeria Police Force and the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC.
Mr Nwajiuba said the damage of school bullying affects the mental, social and psychological well-being of victims which calls for concern.
” Bullying is capable of stopping children from being productive and responsible members of the society, hence, the need to urgently address the ugly phenomenon in the nation’s secondary schools, ” he said.
He said it was the responsibility of the entire society to ensure that children are being brought up to know that every other child is also very important.
“The well-being of every child is our concern,” the Minister reiterated. We will ensure that Nigerian children find their school environments conducive for learning and for other beneficial activities, ” he said
Founders of the initiative speak
Founders of the initiative, 15- and 20-year-old Renee and Zara Okocha, popularly known as the Okocha Sisters, said the training was necessitated by their drive to kick illiteracy and bullying out of the nation by creating safe learning environments for students.
According to them, ‘Kick Out Bullying in our Schools’ programme is a great example of young people’s voices and how they can initiate anti-bullying programmes to make a huge difference on individuals, schools and communities in the country, ”.
The sisters said the anti-bullying programme was developed to teach Nigerian children to respect others as well as ensure that kindness and quality education continue to grow and develop in all schools in the country.
The Okocha Sisters said they have written over 20 children books for first readers.
” We look forward to being exceptional in the academics just as our uncle (JJ Okocha) has done in football.”