More than 91 students from Zamfara state have been sent out of school by the Cyprus International University over the failure of the state government to pay their tuition fees.
Metronetworknews gathered that the students who are on state-sponsored scholarships in the university were directed to vacate their hostels.
It learnt that the students are now faced with hunger, starvation and threat of arrest, in addition to the fact that their residence permits have expired and they could be arrested by the authorities for being in the country illegally.
One of the affected students who spoke to a radio station on condition of anonymity said, “We started having the problem between the school and the Zamfara state government since our first year in school but we thought it could be resolved without raising our voices.
“When the Zamfara state government sent us here (Cyprus), they had agreements with school. But from all indications, those or part of the agreements were obviously not fulfilled, hence the negative reaction of the school.
“For example, when we were coming here (Cyprus), they told us that our school fees have been paid for a few years. We were also told that we would be paid allowances of 100 dollars. But when we came initially, they gave us some money but not up to $100 as promised, and that was the beginning of the problem.
“This is our third year in this country and the situation has gotten worst. It has gotten to the point that the school said they won’t tolerate us again, and had to send us out of school and also evicted us out of the hostel. At the moment, we are homeless, devastated and don’t know what to do.
“We don’t have food nor do we have befitting shelter because the school has chased us out of the hostel. Many of us have resorted to sleeping in Mosques and other unhealthy/unsafe places. We don’t know where some of the students are now, but I believe that many of them have found their ways of survival. This is our second month of being in this inhumane condition here.”
He stated they have intimated the Zamfara State government through several platforms about their predicaments so they can find a solution to this problem, but they have either failed to act or not acted as fast as expected.
A female student who also spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that they are in very bad condition that requires the urgent attention of the Zamfara State Government.
“We are 10 female students staying in one corner of where we found ourselves. The worst of the situation is that we are faced with the arrest threat from the Cyprus Police and other law enforcement agencies because we have not paid for our resident permit for three years now. So, we are under serious threat. We don’t even go out now to avoid being picked up by the police which could result in possible imprisonment that might last for years”, she stated.
When contacted the Commissioner for Information, Zamfara State, Ibrahim Dosar, confirmed the situation of the students in Cyprus, saying it has started working on how to address the challenges.
Dosara said, “We are working to make the balance payment as quickly as possible. Besides, the State Government had an agreement with Cyprus University that the remaining part of the money would be paid as soon as possible.