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TETFund’s postdoc, benchwork scholars in diaspora seek intervention over selective disbursement of bailout fund

 

Post-doctorate and bench work scholars under the sponsorship of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) have decried the reported planned selective disbursement of grant to beneficiaries of the academic programme.


The scholars, who are in institutions spread across the globe, said the disbursement of the bailout fund occasioned by the current exchange rate, should not exempt any beneficiary of the Academic Staff Training and Development (AST&D) programme.


Chairman of the affected scholars, Sa’ad Ibrahim, in a statement, called for a swift intervention on the issue.


He said selective disbursement would be a brazen violation of approval given by President Bola Tinubu.


The statement reads in full : “The attention of TETFund scholars across the globe have been drawn to the inordinate intention of the agency at making selective disbursement of training funds and grants to the beneficiaries who are distributed across various countries and host institutions across the globe.


“This was against the instructions of the Presidency in the bid to yield to the outcry of all beneficiaries who have been seriously affected by the instability in the exchange rate of naira to other currencies of the world.


“While the beneficiaries around the world who are or were on full PhD, Masters, Postdoctoral and Bench work programmes battled with staggered exchange rate as against initial approvals of fund by TETFund, so many of them from reliable sources had to borrow (or even sell their valuables) to make up with the shortages caused by the ever-increasing exchange rates. From reliable sources, some of the beneficiaries who have even completed their programmes either ‘long stay’ or ‘short stay’ had to embark on a borrowing spree to fulfill the demands of their research in a foreign land while some had to jump from apartment to apartment causing so much discomfort in a foreign land.


“TETFund as an agency of government should have been considerate on the plight of all category of foreign scholars with regard to disbursement of the allocated bailout funds over the act of selective disbursement of the allocated bailout funds to these demoralized Nigerian scholars despite the approvals of Mr. President on the matter.



“There is no need to be selective, exempt or to willingly decide who to benefit from this benevolence of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the Nigerian scholars.


“We want to be sure that no staff of the agency at the top hierarchy is trying to use personal powers or his or her office in the appropriate departments of TETFund to exclude these beneficiaries who had gotten agitated or worried over this regrettable and pitiable decision to issue out the bailout to some and abandon some while they all faced same challenges in the forex exchange market.


“It is pertinent to appeal to the conscience of the Executive Secretary of TETFund, the Governing Board, National Assembly Committee on TETFund and relevant departments of the agency most importantly the bursary unit to as a matter of utmost urgency to revisit this issue and give the severe pains of affected beneficiaries a total relieve as soon as possible.


“We are appealing to you not to rob Peter to pay Paul so that you don’t avert the rules of equity, justice and fairness in the distribution of these benefits.


“Sharing formular should be adopted so that all category of beneficiaries the various categories of beneficiaries which include those on PhD, Masters, Postdoctoral and the benchwork trainings can have a fair share of the fund. So emotional to hear from some beneficiaries that till now they are still indebted for their return tickets back home from their host countries as they had to borrow from research colleagues and co-nationals including selling some of their valuables.


“The affected scholars (Postdoc/Benchwork scholars) should have their case attended to as a matter of necessity and urgency to allow for equity, fairness and justice.


“They said they are sure that this selective considerations of the scholars to benefit from the bailout is a parallel effort that can ruin the President Bola Ahamd Tinubu’s dream of creating a one peaceful Nigeria where equity, fairness and justice reigns.


“For the sake of justice, equity, and fairness, we are appealing to TETFund authorities to kindly now do the needful to calm the nerves of these disgruntled emotionally tortured scholars.”

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