The Lagos State Government has appealed to members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and National Union of Lagos State Students (NULASS) to suspend their planned protest over non-payment of bursaries.
Mr Obafela Bank-Olemoh, the Special Adviser to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode on Education, made the plea in Lagos on Tuesday following the seven-day ultimatum given the state government to pay their bursaries.
Bank-Olemoh said that the state government had approved the disbursement of bursaries and scholarships to indigent students studying in tertiary institutions across the country before Dec. 31.
The governor’s aide said plans were already in place to commence the payment, adding that the state government was committed to the welfare of Lagosians, especially students of the state origin.
“The bursary has been approved by the governor. The Lagos State Scholarship Board has begun the process to ensure that the students are paid before the end of December.
“There is no excuse for failure, and it is almost undeniable that the bursary and scholarship meant for Lagosians is a right and long overdue for payment.
“Protests sometimes may not solve the problem; so dialogue is the end product of every agitation.
“I appeal to the students to suspend the ultimatum and wait for the payment of their bursary on or before Dec. 31,” Bank-Olemoh said in a statement.
He said that in spite of the challenging economic situation across the country, the governor had continued to invest in a range of initiatives to upgrade the status of institutions.
According to him, the state government’s commitment to education across the sphere is unparalleled.
“This administration, over the past two and half years, has been deliberate about increasing the capacity of its institutions, with regard to tertiary education.
“This is in line with the continued commitment of this administration, under the leadership of Gov. Ambode to ensure that Lagos State students continue to thrive and excel in the academic field.
“In 2016, there was an increase in subvention for all our tertiary institutions in the state, while innovative programmes such as ReadySetWork were launched to equip final year students with entrepreneurship and employability skills for the world of work.
“To date, 2,500 final year students have been trained and joined the workforce;
“No fewer than 10,000 students in their penultimate year have participated in the ReadySetWork online programme (www.readysetwork.com.ng), which qualifies them for the full-fledged programme in their final year,” he said.
The special adviser said that the CodeLagos, a programme aimed at teaching coding skills to one million Lagos residents, had entered its next phase.
Bank-Olemoh said that the centres were opened across the state to train interested learners at no cost.