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Nigeria: US$29m on scholarships in eight years

A local government in Nigeria spent a colossal US$28.8 million – an equivalent of 20 billion Naira – sponsoring students in international universities in the eight years up to 2023.

Photo: pexels

The regional government of Kano, one of the largest states in the country, spent the money paying school fees for some 111,000 students in 14 different countries abroad including the UK, China, India, Turkey, Ireland and Malaysia.

While part of the money paid for students to acquire degrees, part of it also went to paying for training lecturers, with some of the money supporting training for postgraduate students from the state enrolled in French universities.

In the latter arrangement some 50 lecturers from two universities in the northern Nigeria state were enrolled for doctorate degrees in French “prestigious universities” under a program jointly executed between the French and the state government. Towards that end Naira 600 million was spent.

Other countries where the students were enrolled include Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Togo, Ireland, Gambia and Ukraine.

Quoting a statement attributed to Malam Muhammad Garba, former commissioner for Information and Internal Affairs under immediate former governor of the devolved unit Abdullahi Ganduje, Channels TV reported that a huge portion of the money – Naira 865 million – went to scholarship allowances and to covering “logistics”.

“The former commissioner emphasised that the administration’s commitment to investing in education and scholarship opportunities had a significant impact on the development of human capital in Kano State”, it stated.

The outlet added that the financial support provided to both local and international students was aimed at enhancing “educational outcomes” and contribute to the state’s progress.

Nigeria remains Africa’s main source of foreign students, with thousands enrolling in UK, North American and European universities each year.

The result is huge spending on forex in the pursuit of foreign qualifications. While investment on the same fell in 2022, to stand at US$1.38 billion in the first nine months of 2022, it was by far one of the highest by a developing country.

During the year some 71,133 Nigerians enrolled in foreign universities around the world.

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