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Nigerian scholarship students living from “hand-to-mouth” abroad as their funds have still not arrived 12 months later

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More than 200 students who got a scholarship through the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in 2019 are still stranded as their scholarship funds have still not arrived 12 months later.

Back in July, some of the Nigerian scholarship students protested at Nigeria’s High Commission’s office. They revealed that they’ve been forced to do odd jobs to survive.

CNN interviewed some of the affected students and they narrated how they’ve been sending emails to the awarding body without receiving a positive response. 


Mercy Eyo is one of those affected. Mercy, from Bonny Island, Rivers State, was awarded a foreign postgraduate scholarship in July 2019.

Nigerian scholarship students living from "hand-to-mouth" abroad as their funds have still not arrived 12 months later

She had just lost her father at the time. A year earlier, her mother had passed away.

She was elated about the prospect of starting a master’s degree in global health care management at Coventry University, in the United Kingdom, with a scholarship from a Nigerian government agency.

“I was super excited … I felt it was a consolation that would change my life forever,” Eyo said.

“It was that one little time I had hope in the Nigerian dream,” she told CNN, “because I wanted to return home afterward to offer what I had to the society.”

However, that dream has turned into a nightmare for Eyo who couldn’t travel despite selling most of her possessions to raise the money when NDDC didn’t fulfil their promise,

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CNN has seen a scholarship letter dated July 29, email exchanges between Mercy Eyo and the awarding body and scanned copies of the letters she sent to the NDDC in December 2019 requesting funds to process her travel arrangements.

She was told to make her way abroad and the money would later follow, but despite selling her laptops, phones and other valuable properties, Eyo wasn’t able to raise her travel funds and visa processing fees and lost her place at the UK’s Coventry University.

She remains in Nigeria with no signs of the funds promised to her.

“These are things that make me cry sometimes or feel depressed,” Eyo told CNN.

Other scholarship students from Nigeria that CNN spoke to were able to make their way abroad. But they are also still waiting for the promised funds.

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They told CNN that their emails and correspondence with the agency have been mostly ignored since September 2019.

The scholars are scattered in various universities across the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.

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Another student, Andrew Saba is studying for a master’s degree in public health at the University of Aberdeen.

Nigerian scholarship students living from "hand-to-mouth" abroad as their funds have still not arrived 12 months later

“I don’t know the worth of a Nigerian life to the people in power. I feel betrayed by Nigeria … I can’t understand how a country can abandon her brightest of minds in a foreign land. I can’t relate to priorities of the country,” said Saba.

“I am disappointed. It is supposed to be a joyful thing to get a scholarship from your country. Numerous countries give their citizens scholarship… but ours require extra activism to work. This is not how it should be.”

The students said they are going through a lot of hardship due to a lack of funds and are unable to engage in menial jobs to survive because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Each masters’ scholar is owed $30,000, while the PhD students are owed $90,000, which runs for the duration of their three-year program.

Others say they live on charity from family at home and friends abroad, while looking for new jobs to start paying their debts and bills.

Some of them have been told by their universities that their graduation isn’t possible until their debts are paid.

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In May, after growing pressure, the agency paid a “take-off” grant of around $1,290. This was an initial payment that was supposed to help the students with their initial visa processing and travelling costs last year.

Some of the students recently held protests at the Nigerian High Commission Office in London. The protesters caught the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari who, on August 4, ordered the NDDC to immediately pay the outstanding sums owed to the students stranded across the globe.

Nigerian scholarship students living from "hand-to-mouth" abroad as their funds have still not arrived 12 months later

The NDDC promised to pay the fees by the end of that week, adding that the death of the executive director of finance as well as the coronavirus pandemic was responsible for the delay in paying their fees.

However, none of the students CNN spoke to has received their outstanding payment.

CNN has contacted NDDC to find out why the payments to the students have still not been made two weeks after the President’s order. The report says the NDDC has not yet responded to the request for comment.

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Girl dies after her teacher flogged her for getting two math questions wrong

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A schoolgirl has died after allegedly being beaten by her teacher for failing to answer two maths questions correctly.

 

The 10-year-old girl, identified by her surname Zhang, was a student at a primary school in the city of Guangyuan, central China.

 

According to the Xinhua News Agency, the teacher, identified by the surname Wang, beat the girl on September 10.

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Zhang was beaten on her palms four times and ordered to kneel for four minutes, state-owned newspaper China Daily reports.

 

Girl dies after her teacher flogged her for getting two math questions wrong

 

Feeling dizzy, she was sent to hospital by her grandmother and the teacher and was pronounced dead later that day at 3.30pm.

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She also had her ears pulled and her head beaten, according to the Oriental Daily.

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Medical experts found no wounds and an investigation into her death is under way.

 

The Cangxi county government has set up a task force and the teacher has been suspended from work, along with the school’s principal.

 

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The victim’s grandmother told local media that she had a twin sister who was in the same class. She said Zhang looked close to fainting during the beating.

 

The grandmother also mentioned that Zhang was scared of her maths teacher, who she claimed often gave corporal punishment to students.

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US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dies aged 87 after year long battle with cancer

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US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the firebrand court justice who was known for her legal, cultural and feminist actions while serving in the highest court of the land, died Friday September 18, aged 87 after battling cancer, the Supreme Court has announced.

 

Justice Ginsburg, nominated into the supreme court by former president Bill Clinton, died from complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas, the Supreme court said in a statement.

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US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dies aged 87 after year long battle with cancer

 

She died at her home in Washington surrounded by family.

“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in the statement.

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“We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tired and resolute champion of justice.”

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US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dies aged 87 after year long battle with cancer

 

Known for her legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg served 27 years as a Supreme Court Justice. Her death will set in motion a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, as the presidential election nears.

 

Ginsburg’s death gives Republicans the chance to tighten their grip on the court with another Trump appointment that would give conservatives a 6-to-3 majority meaning that even a defection on the right would leave conservatives with enough votes to prevail in the Obamacare case, Dreamers and many other cases that will be brought to the supreme court this period.

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Man charged with killing and dismembering his girlfriend in Kentucky

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A Kentucky man has been charged in connection with the gruesome murder of his girlfriend who was dismembered before her body parts were hauled in suitcases all the way to south suburban Markham.

 

Police said Melvin Martin Jr., 30, who was initially charged as a fugitive took his girlfriend’s remains on a Greyhound bus to visit family in Markham, traveling more than five hours with the body parts to the Chicago Greyhound station at 630 W. Harrison St.

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Markham spokesman, Michael Taylor said in a statement that Martin was arrested on Monday at the Markham Public Library after curious family members made the discovery.

 

The spokesman said some parts of the woman’s body were found in Illinois, while the other half was found in Kentucky.

 

‘A severed head and other body parts were found in the bags, while police in Kentucky found the woman’s torso,’ he said.

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‘Martin had been staying with family for about a week, and family members became curious after he asked them on at least two occasions to purchase clothing for him despite arriving on a Greyhound bus in Chicago toting the bags’.

 

‘Martin eventually moved the two bags to the home’s garage, and the family made the discovery after Martin had left for the library,’ Taylor added.

 

Detectives believe the girlfriend was killed at least 30 days ago with Markham Police Chief Terry White saying the woman’s death could be the result of a domestic dispute that occurred about a month ago.

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When asked by police why he brought his girlfriend’s remains to Illinois, Martin Jr. delivered a shocking reply.

 

“He indicated that, as grotesque as it might sound, that he still wanted to be with at least part of her,” said Markham police Chief.

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