A physically challenged student of Benue State University, Shima Joseph Ajav, is in a quandary. Shima is among the students that recently completed their first degree studies in the university. He is now waiting to be mobilized for the mandatory one year national youth service.
However, Shima’s hope of being called up for national service will be dashed if the authorities do not hasten to do the needful and actualise the scholarship it awarded to him, and thereby pay off his fees. The result is that he would not receive the call up letter and be mobilized for national service. That outcome would be very unfair and a big disappointment to a person who struggled against all odds to complete the degree programme and pass the prescribed examinations. It is to be noted that Shima stubbornly refused to allow his condition of being physically challenged and confined to a wheelchair to kill his dream. Therefore, it was very heartwarming to hear that Benue State University awarded a scholarship to Shima. I was very happy with the university’s gesture and I applauded the university through publications I made in the Guardian and Thisday newspapers, respectively.
But today, Shima is not a happy person as the scholarship award had run in to an unconscionable hitch, despite the fact that the authorities of the university had given approval for the sum of N400,000 to be released as cash-backing for the scholarship.
Beset by the major obstacle, Shima has been wheeling his chair from pillar to post literally begging for money to pay off his outstanding fees, which should have been paid from the unfunded scholarship award. ‘Who will help me now,’ seems to the question agitating the mind of the physically challenged but hard working student.
Disturbed by the plight of Shima, I undertook a visit to Benue State University, to investigate the matter and find out why the university failed to authenticate the scholarship award to Shima by paying his fees. I was able to speak with Mr. Abayam in the academic planning unit. He is also the person in possession of Shima’s file, which contains the letter which stated that approval had been given for the release of the sum of N400,000 for his scholarship.
In the course of interactions during the visit, Abayam said the university could not release money for Shima’s scholarship because the school was broke. Shocked by this, I asked if Shima it was Shima’s fault that theschool was broke. I also asked Abayam was not aware of its financial status before awarding scholarship to Shima. But Abayam could not answer any of my questions. Notwithstanding the financial status of the university, Shima’s scholarship should be made effective, and cash-backing provided promptly, to enable him participate in the exciting one year national service.
The Vice Chancellor of Benue State University, Professor Moses Msugh Kembe, needs to take expeditious action on the case of Shima, before it is too late. All eyes are on you sir.
► Awunah Pius Terwase wrote from Mpape, Abuja. 08179289948 email: [email protected]