Alabama State University in the United States has admitted owing the Nigerian government $202,000, being part of the money meant for Nigerian students on scholarship, but mishandled by the university.
Thirty six Nigerian students in the school two years ago sued the university accusing it of either misusing or mishandling $800,000 meant for them. On Monday, the Nigerian government joined as a plaintiff in the suit.
The university admitted on Tuesday that it was indeed owing the Nigerians some money, according alabamanews.net.
“The agreement regarding the education of the Nigerian students dates back to 2013 and has always been between the government of Nigeria and Alabama State University, not the individual students. Since the initiation of the agreement, ASU has adhered to and complied with every instruction and direction given to the University by the Nigerian government regarding that agreement,” said Kenneth L. Thomas, general counsel for Alabama State University.
ASU has advised the Nigerian government through several letters that as a result of the University’s accounting over the last four years, the government is entitled to a $202,009.50 credit, which was deposited last year into a trust account at the federal courthouse in Montgomery, Ala. The University has yet to receive a response from the Nigerian government regarding the credit.”
It was an admission coming late for the students.
One student, Success Jumbo, spoke out about his experience. He said he was denied many things including student health insurance and just getting textbooks.
“My college experience has been ruined, because I wasn’t allowed to do things that every other college student is doing,” he explained.
“We went as far as asking our government to give us authorization for them to release the funds to us, which they did. On several occasions, they wrote two letters, which ASU bluntly declined.
““This is supposed to money that has been made available for us,” Jumbo said. “It’s not like we are asking him to pay us or give us monies from his personal pocket. This was monies already made available for us when we need them,”he said
The students and attorneys are hopeful that new leadership at ASU can help solve this problem.
“I hope it will sober Alabama State University up and it’s new president, to realize that what these students are talking about is very serious and it’s not only having an adverse effect on them legally, but I would think public relations wise,” added Attorney Julian McPhillips.