The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has condemned the hijacking of foreign scholarships meant for brilliant young Nigerians by senior officials at the Federal Ministry of Transport. The scholarship which was provided by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), was meant to train gifted young Nigerians in railways engineering. Although the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Sabiu Zakari later issued a statement denying the availability of the scholarship, there is evidence to suggest that such denial holds no water.
In a Press Release issued by the Centre on Monday, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, stated: “Our position is always that any act of dishonesty, either by an individual or an organization is Corruption and would always have deleterious and debilitating effects on society as a whole. From available evidence, President Buhari’s Administration is desirous of resuscitating our railways system just as successive governments in Nigeria have engaged the Chinese experts in this regard for decades”.
“We are equally aware that one of such projects is to have a double-track standard gauge railway track from Lagos to Kano. This led to the CCECC approaching the transportation Ministry, informing it of its plan to sponsor a number of brilliant young and qualified Nigerians to study for bachelor’s degrees in railway engineering fully funded by the company so as to have a generation of qualified personnel for maintenance of the railway infrastructure”.
“It is therefore preposterous and primitive for senior officials of the ministry to willfully corner these scholarship offers for only the children of the high and mighty, as this is capable of encouraging mediocrity and disillusionment in the eyes of more qualified Nigerian youths being shortchanged. Such opportunities and scholarship are meant to be publicly advertised on both the print and electronic media’s while also ensuring that there is enough time for qualified candidates to apply. This odious behaviour clearly negates the fight against corruption of President Buhari’s government”.
“We therefore join other Nigerians in the call for the government and other relevant agencies to intervene and encourage openness and transparency to guide the scholarship exercise while measures are taken to guarantee that the beneficiaries would not only make maximum opportunities of this window, but that whatever knowledge and expertise garnered, are eventually converted to the overall benefit of the nation. It is thus imperative to call for the requisite deterrents to those who are found guilty of these selfish and greedy crimes after diligent investigations have been carried out”.
Media Coordinator, CACOL