By Dipo Olowookere
About 39 students of Sokoto origin studying abroad on the bill of the state government have been asked to return home.
Their recall was approved on Friday by the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, when he received the report of the committee instituted to advise government on the issue.
The affected students are currently studying in various schools in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Tambuwal explained that the move is expected to save the state government over N500 million.
He said that government’s action signalled a change of priorities in the payment of scholarships to indigent students to study abroad.
“The transfer/relocation of the students was necessitated by the need to conserve funds and apply same to more critical areas in the education sector,” he explained.
He said that admission had been secured for all the students in Nigerian schools.
Mr Tambuwal added that arrangements had been concluded to ensure that none of the students missed a grade level upon their return home.
He said, “As at the time we sent the children to Dubai to study last year, the state government was spending over N400 million per annum to maintain them there.
“The last administration had good intentions when it sent them to Dubai to further their studies.
“But the current financial situation of the state can no longer allow us to continue with this burden.
“We explained to the parents and guardians of the students that as at today, Sokoto state government spends over N500 million to maintain 17,000 of its citizens on scholarship in various schools in Nigeria.”
Tambuwal said that to pay N400 million for 39 students in Dubai was weighing heavily on the scarce resources of the state.
The governor thanked the students and parents for their understanding.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the Transfer/Relocation Committee of the students, Deputy Governor, Ahmad Aliyu, said government decided to bring them back home due to the high cost of maintaining them in the UAE.
He said, “Government had ensured that admissions were secured for them in local universities.
“All is set for them to resume their academic programmes at home without delay.”