Nigerian medical student faces deportation from Russia over ‘corruption’ in Sokoto scholarship board


A Nigerian studying at Irkutsk State Medical University (ISMU), Usman Yahaya, is facing deportation from Russia.

The Sokoto-born medical student has been in detention for more than one month, PRNigeria reports.

The recipient of the Best African Medical Student Award at the Russian Centre for Scientific Research was suspended by ISMU because the Sokoto government allegedly failed to pay his overdue scholarship.

Yahaya was thereafter detained at a Russian immigration camp at Angarsk Irkutsk.

His ordeal is linked to the Director of Foreign Students at the Sokoto State Scholarship Board, Kabiru Labaran.

The official is accused of tampering with funds approved for foreign bursary approved every year by the government since 2016.

Yahaya has appeared twice at a Russian state court. If convicted, he may be expelled from ISMU, sent out of the country, and banned from re-entry.

On Thursday, Yahaya was accompanied by a staff of IMSU and a police officer to the Russian Immigration office to sign a document, alleged to be a deportation form.

Nigerian Students in Europe (ANSE) President, Bashiru Muhammad has urged Governor Aminu Tambuwal to intervene.

Muhammad, currently working to resolve the matter, warned that Tambuwal’s support for Sokoto students abroad would be undermined if Yahaya is left to his fate.

Meanwhile, Head of Transparency International in Nigeria, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani has called for a thorough probe of the scholarship board officials.

Rafsanjani, Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), charged anti-corruption agencies to look into allegations of bribery and corrupt practices.

The activist stated that elites in Nigeria value the education of their children in the most expensive schools abroad.

“This is very unfortunate. A bright final year medical student in the finest medical university in Russia is facing this painful dilemma.

“We appeal to Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto, a state that has a shortage of qualified medical practitioners, to mediate in the plight of poor students.

“We call on the EFCC and ICPC to investigate the alleged corrupt practices at the scholarship board”, Rafsanjani added.

Reacting, Sokoto Information Commissioner explained that Yahaya sought a transfer from a Sudanese University in Khartoum to Russia in 2014 without the board’s guidance.

“The Governor is in Abuja now. But I can assure you that we will meet with him whenever he returns and plead with him to intervene in Yahaya’s case”, he said.



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