Thursday, 3 October 2013

Govt withdraws sponsorship of 6 students in Russia over attack on embassy

Irked by last Monday’s attack on the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow, the Presidency has withdrawn sponsorship of six students at the Peoples Friendship University, for unruly behaviour.

The affected students are reported to have stormed the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow and protested non-remittance of their September allowance, creating image problems for Nigeria in the process.

Vanguard learnt that following the assault on the embassy, the Russian police arrested no fewer than 16 Niger Delta students and took them into custody for breach of the peace.

The Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta announced yesterday that it decided to withdraw sponsorship of the affected students to serve as  deterrent to others under its sponsorship in other parts of the globe.

The students were part of the 24 Niger Delta youths being sponsored by the Amnesty Office at the Peoples Friendship University, Moscow, Russia, who were found to be behind the condemnable act.

The decision was announced by Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku, after it was discovered that claims of the students were untrue and that the attack on the Nigerian Mission was unprovoked.

“For going on rampage and violently attacking the Nigerian Mission, these students breached the Code of Conduct for delegates on scholarship that they all signed before their departure from Nigeria. It is also a gross misconduct, which the Nigerian government cannot tolerate. Students on its sponsorship cannot go on rampage on flimsy excuses in a foreign country and damage the image and reputation of Nigeria.

“Our records show that the students were not being owed their In-Training Allowance, ITA, for six months as they alleged.”

“In fact, the only unremitted allowance was for the month of September 2013, which had been approved and was being processed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, at the time they attacked the Mission.

“My office had communicated the students on Friday, September 27, 2013 about the processing of their ITA for the months of September and October 2013 and the need for them to be patient while it was being handled by the CBN.

“We were therefore shocked when information got to us that the delegates had invaded the embassy, destroyed property and attacked the Mission officials over unpaid allowances. This is absolutely unacceptable,” Kuku said. Kuku also dismissed speculations among former agitators in the Niger Delta that they would soon be paid the sum of N2 million each by the Amnesty Office.

“There is no such plan to pay any of them such amount,” Kuku said.

The rumour, he noted, had caused serious tension in some of the Niger Delta states and that his office had been inundated with unnecessary phone calls and enquiries.

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