The Governor who announced the increase from N50, 000.00 to N100, 000.00 per student while presenting cheques to beneficiaries yesterday in Asaba, said the increase should take retrospective effect from the last batch.
He therefore directed the Chairman of the State Scholarship Board, Monsignor Buchi Aninye to prepare a supplementary estimate to accommodate the expenditure.
Amidst applause from the beneficiaries and the audience at the ceremony, the Governor disclosed that his administration spends about one billion naira yearly on bursary and promised to sustain it irrespective of the capital intensive nature of the programme.
He said he has no regret investing so much in the bursary programme, explaining that human capital development was central to the economic transformation of the state.
He however decried the attitude of Students Unions in the state towards the programme warning them to be orderly and act within the ambit of the law or be prepared to face the full weight of the law.
He regretted that student union bodies were going beyond their mandate even as he insisted that the government would not allow student unions to take over the functions of the State Scholarship Board.
The governor explained that it was the statutory function of the State Scholarship Board to disburse bursary to students and no amount of intimidation or pressure would make the state government shift that responsibility to student union bodies.
“Let NADESU behave and be orderly. If the body fails to change its attitude we will do what is necessary. We will no longer take unruly behavior from the union.”
Dr Uduaghan who blamed the student union body for the mix up in the scholarship list of beneficiaries said the scholarship Board was already working hard to clear the mess the union body created.
In his speech the Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Hope Eghagha enjoined the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of the state especially as government was providing the scholarship in spite of competing demands.
Prof. Eghagha however invited the Private Sector to partner with the state government in its human capital development agenda.
The Commissioner who enjoined students of tertiary institutions to behave maturely and explore the use of dialogue said the days of stampeding institutions were over.
Prof. Eghagha appealed to student bodies to be honest and reduce the problem of fake names on the list.
Responding on behalf of the recipients, Barrister Rachael Obodo expressed appreciation to the state governor for the laudable project.
Barrister Obodo said they were excited over the kind gesture and commended the state government for the increase from Fifty thousand naira to a hundred thousand naira.
She pledged their loyalty and support to the administration of Governor Uduaghan.