Adesola Bello, a beneficiary of Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSID), and a PhD student at Imperial College, London, is currently seeking to raise the sum of N10,453,170 (£21, 333) on GoFundMe to settle her outstanding tuition fees and obtain her degree.
Like hundreds of other scholars under the scheme, Bello has not received a penny from the Federal Government since 2016.
She bagged a first class degree in biochemistry from Babcock University in 2012. This distinction qualified her to apply for PRESSID which was inaugurated in 2012 by former Presiddent Goodluck Jonathan to sponsor Nigerian students who graduated with a First Class undergraduate degree for their MSc and PhD degrees in any of the top 100 universities in the world.
Bello got the scholarship in 2013 which was meant to cover tuition and other study related costs, including living expenses and travel cost.
“I was excited as the scholarship promised to help me achieve my career goals,” she said. “I took the offer, studied for my Masters 2014/15 and started my PhD in Jan 2016, both at Imperial College.
“All was fine until that first year of PhD. We (other scholarship beneficiaries and I) had to wait up to 8-9 months before receiving our stipends and tuition fees. And that was the last time we received anything from FGN.”
Bello who is currently in her final year of PhD in Clinical Medicine Research (Human Nutrition) said she had always wanted a career in scientific research.
She said all appeals to the Federal Government to fulfil the terms of the scholarship had failed, including letters to the President, Vice President, Minister of Education, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Relations and Diaspora, and Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission.
“I’ve since had to fend for myself and raise funds through financial aid from my university, loans and donations from family and friends and various part-time jobs. But my aid has now run out and I still have £21,333 of my tuition to pay. This is why I need your assistance.
“I will continue to work part-time to cater to my living and maintenance expenses, but would need all the help I can get with my tuition. My university has agreed to split my tuition over the seven months before the session ends on September 2018, so I have to come up with £2,121.90 in March, and £3,201.85 every month till September. I believe with your help I can do this!
“If I can clear this debt within the time frame, I will avoid any interests, I can move on to the Completing Research Status where I will not need to pay any tuition fees, and most importantly I will be able to finish my PhD and get my degree.”
So far, Bello has raised £3,252 from 54 people in four days.