The Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) is being dragged to court by Cambridge College, Ikeja, Lagos, over an unpaid N17 million debt, which is the balance of tuition meant for 16 indigent students of the state who had their A level/Foundation Class at the college last year.
The college authorities filed a claim before an Ikeja High Court, asking the RSSDA to pay the balance as well as N1 million damages for breach of contract. The suit also sought “interests at the prevailing Central Bank rate of 25 per cent per annum till the liquidation of the judgment.”
Cambridge College is one of selected Lagos schools being owed tuition under the scholarship scheme introduced by the Rivers State Government for its indigent but brilliant pupils, reports the PUNCH.
Rivers State Government is reported to also be indebted to Supreme Education Foundation, Magodo, Chrisland Schools, Ikeja, and Edgewood International School, all in Lagos state.
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More than 2,000 secondary and post-secondary students reportedly benefited from the RSSDA initiative inaugurated by former Governor Chibuike Amaechi in 2008.
Director of Cambridge College, Mr. Wale Odunlami, said the institution was left with no choice but to seek a legal redress as the tuition has been outstanding since January 2015 and it was expected that the state government would have paid up before now because government is a continuum.
The Director said the RSSDA were initially apologetic but things changed immediately after the Supreme Court judgment affirmed Governor Nyesom Wike.
Mr. Wale Odunlami who explained that the money was for services rendered, added that this was a good legacy of the former administration and believes that both liabilities and assets of a government are inherited as administration batons are passed on.
He said that the state government could afford to spend money for a thanksgiving service after the Supreme Court judgment, which was money sufficient enough to pay the tuition for 10 indigent pupils.
Last year, reports had it that some students studying abroad under the scholarship scheme had resorted to washing toilets to make ends meet. The affected students, domiciled in some countries in Europe, Asia and the United States, recently protested over unpaid school fees, allowances and rents.
However, only last month, Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, asked all indigenes of the state who are on scholarship abroad to return to Nigeria to continue their scholarship programmes in any University in the country as the state is currently facing financial crisis and can’t continue to sponsor them.
Governor Nyesom Wike’s administration added that it will no longer pay the tuition and allowances of the scholars and consequently advised all of them to return home.