R/STATE GOVT: PLS PAY THE TUITION FEE OF 13 RIVERS STATE MEDICAL STUDENTS IN THE CARIBBEAN
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We are 13 medical students of Rivers State stranded overseas. We left home as scholarship beneficiaries of the Rivers State Government through The Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) but unfortunately as we write today we have been abandoned by the current administration, and just like that we have turned from proud scholars of our state to just shy of refugees in a foreign land. We plead that you listen to us and then decide if our story is indeed worth your time, we have no doubt it definitely will.
Following mentally rigorous testing and exercises, we were awarded the Rivers State scholarship in 2013 based on merit. We got admitted into All Saints University School of Medicine, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in January 2015. We signed a contract with the Rivers State government through the RSSDA stating that our allowances and fees would be paid throughout the duration of our medical program.
We arrived Saint Vincent January 28, 2015 on Study (No-Work Permit) Visas, fees paid down for a year, we dove straight into the books, emanating excellence in our ambassadorial roles on behalf of the state, shining academically. We only received three months allowance (February to April 2015) and ever since then till date we have not received anything by way of sustenance from our sponsors, the RSSDA or the office of the governor, His Excellency Barr. Nyesom Wike. Our parents were forced to cough up huge sums from their meager civil service salaries just so we could get by while we waited, praying and hoping for our allowances to be paid. Life, you see, was already pretty tough for us so you can only but imagine how bad things got when US Dollar doubled against the Naira. We were rendered homeless (still are) and suffered severe starvation as basics such as accommodation and feeding became a luxury. Fortunately, we were aided by other Nigerian students and a few locals who took pity on our plight else we would currently be populating the bridges and streets of St. Vincent.
We have successfully completed our basic medical sciences before we were suspended by the university as at April 2017 to date due to non payment of fees by our sponsor and the Rivers State government. We needed just 72 weeks more as at April 2017 to complete the clinical phase of our medical education and to graduate as medical doctors. We have written series of letters to our sponsors and to the office of the governor explaining our situation but to no avail.
In November 2017, the Governor of Rivers State Barr. Nyesom Wike stated his commitment to continue the sponsorship of Rivers State Scholars studying Medicine at Chatham House, London, before an international audience and global media. Following his statement, we have written several times to the Office of His Excellency the Governor, to fulfill his promise but to no avail as we write this petition.
We also strongly refute claims by some individuals within His Excellency, the Governor's administration and some citizens of Rivers state, that we have any political alliances, are children of people owed political favours or are not innocent sons and daughters of Rivers state who got the scholarship by merit. These are all lies designed to discredit our story and play down the severity of our plight which we believe to be another great injustice.
Finally, we would like to use this opportunity to appeal to you to help us contact the named people on this petition especially the Rivers State governor Barr. Nyesom Wike so that real action can be taken on this issue and that the Governor will release funds to enable the payment of our tuition. Please help us actualize our dreams of being medical doctors and to go back home to contribute to the health care in Rivers State and Nigeria at large especially now that we have just 72 weeks left to graduate as medical doctors.
Attached below are the named students affected and their local government areas in Rivers state.
Biobele A. Briggs (Akuku-Toru LGA)
Belema Ronabere (Okrika LGA)
Brighton S. Nwidoh (Khana LGA)
Wisdom D. Akor (Ikwerre LGA)
Tonye O. Robert (Opobo/Nkoro LGA)
Otonye Derikoma (Port Harcourt City LGA)
Chioma V. Okeh (Ikwerre LGA)
Isaac Mueka (khana LGA)
Kennedy U. Ejiogu (Oyibo LGA)
Godswill Igoma (Abua/Odua LGA)
Toka S. Barikere-Op (Gokhana LGA)
Oroma Chukwu Douglas (Obio/Akpor LGA)
Victoria W. Finebone (Opobo/Nkoro LGA)
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