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RSSDA Medical Students Scholarship Scandal: RSHA Orders Agency To Secure Admission For Students

The Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA) has ordered the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) to secure admission for Rivers students who were sent abroad on scholarship.
It would be recalled that 94 Rivers State students were sent abroad some years ago to study medicine but were later given admission in para-medical courses at the United Kingdom which made the parents of the affected students to write petition against the agency.
The House Committee on Public Petition Complaints of the RSHA investigated the report brought before them.
During the debate of the report on the floor of the House, the lawmakers noticed complicating issues and invited all parties, the RSSDA, Directors, the consultant of the Agency and the parents of the affected students to appear before it on Wednesday.
Mr. Noble Pepple the Rivers State Director of RSSDA explained that the time students from the state were given admission, there were pressures in the state for the students to travel abroad for the studies, stressing that it was already late for them to do thorough verification concerning the requirement from institutions. He pointed out that the agency has since reviewed its policy concerning the oversea scholarship.
According to him, the students that could be given admission to study medicine were only those with A level certificates, Foundation courses and graduates with (first class degree certificate).
He further explained that the RSSDA refused to accept the offer of admission to the students in the New Castle University in Malaysia due to non-accreditation.
The RSSDA boss stated that the students would return home before seeking for admission because they would not be given visa while idle in the United Kingdom.
Commenting on non-payment of allowances to the students, he said it was due to lack of release of fund, stressing that all the allowances owed to students from June to July would be given to them when they receive the fund from the Rivers State government.
Mrs. Blessing Tasie, the consultant of the RSSDA on her part, explained that the students were left with the option of reading access courses due to age bracket since they did not possess A level certificates.
In his submission, Hon Chidi Julius Lloyd, the lawmaker representing Emohua Constituency and the Leader of the House who frowned at the scenario, explained that the students were withdrawn from their previous institutions in Nigeria by their parents on hearing of the situation of the RSSDA scholarship, stressing that the experience of the students should sound a warning to the affected students’ parents.
Referring to the law establishing the RSSDA, the Emohua-born lawmaker stressed that the agency could send students for vocational training and that it was not a waste for the students to have obtained degrees in medical related fields, suggesting that the students should be brought back home pending when they gain new admission, instead of wasting their time abroad.
Hon. Golden Chioma, lawmaker representing Etche II, expressed dismay over the development, stressing that the problem on the scholarship programme was a failure on the part of the RSSDA.
Other lawmakers including Hon. Robinson Ewor, Ahoada East Constituency in their separates contributions, blamed the consultants, the RSSDA for not doing a thorough job and the students for accepting to read different courses instead of their original courses.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree, put the matter to vote and the lawmakers unanimously voted for RSSDA to assist the affected students to secure admission into medical schools abroad. ###

Emeka Jilly Ejiowhor

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