Sixteen Nigerian Medical students studying in St Vincent and Grenadines in the Caribbean, under the Rivers State Scholarship scheme, have been arrested for stealing and fraudulent.
The students were awarded scholarships in 2013 under the Rivers State Scholarship schemes.
Two of the sixteen students were nabbed after they were caught stealing, Vanguard Reports.
The students, who reportedly said they resorted to stealing due to lack of funds, complained that the government abandoned them to their own fate for close to 2 years, alleging that they (government) refused to pay their tuition and starving them of their monthly upkeep allowances.
One of the medical scholars, Promise Adimele Amaechi, narrated his ordeal to newsmen while begging the government to intervene.
According to him, “We are supposed to graduate in October this year, but due to non-payment of our school fees, the school authorities have stopped us from our clinical clerkships. The school said we can’t graduate if our school fees are not paid; hence the school has to stop us from completing our remaining clinical rotations.
‘’Moreover, because our upkeep allowances are not paid, we cannot feed and pay our rent. Some of our landlords think we could leave the country without paying them, most students’ travelling documents have been seized and legal action taken against us to recover the debts.
“Two students among us, who recently engaged in stealing and fraud in order to make ends meet, were arrested.
“As I speak to you, I have not eaten for the past three days, this is how bad the situation is with us,” Amaechi added.
The students lamented they have resorted to begging for alms to feed and are now living on the streets as their landlords have ejected them for failing to pay rent.
Confirming the report, the Executive Director of Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, RSSDA, Mr. Larry Pepple, “Since I took over as the Executive Director of RSSDA in January this year, I met backlog of old tuition and backlog of unpaid living allowances.
“As at today, it has clocked 17 months that the scholars have not received their allowances.
“The ones that are in the final year, the governor has given approval for everything to be paid to them so that they can conclude and return.
“But unfortunately, this approval as we speak, is yet to translate to cash, because of the limited resources.
“We are currently working with the Minister of Finance,” Pepple said, adding that 328 others have returned home to continue their education due to the crippling economic situation.