Education Ministry Alerts Public On Fraudsters

The Federal Ministry of Education yesterday alerted the public to the activities of fraudsters asking scholarship applicants to pay some money for the processing of their awards.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. MacJohn Nwaobiala, who briefed newsmen in Abuja, said the fraudsters also made same demands on candidates seeking admission into unity schools.
Nwaobiala said that the ministry was working in collaboration with security agencies to apprehend the culprits and prosecute them.
“It has come to the notice of the ministry that some fraudulent persons who claim to be staff of the Federal Scholarship Board are contacting applicants via telephone calls and text messages.
“They demand the payment of some amount of money into some particular bank accounts before their scholarships are processed and awarded.
“Similar reports have also been received on admissions into Federal Government Unity Colleges.
“The ministry does not charge money to offer admission at any level; if a candidate is not selected under national merit, state equity or other criteria, there are no agents that would be paid to make the admission possible.
“Please be mindful of racketeers’’, he said.
Nwaobiala advised candidates to disregard those calls and messages, adding that whoever had any transaction with the fraudsters does so at their own risk.
He listed the official channels for dealing with the Federal Scholarship Board or the ministry as www.education.gov.ng and www.fsb.gov.ng.
He said that the management of the ministry suspects collusion between some unscrupulous staff of the ministry and outsiders.
“They will first request N19, 750; if you fall for it, the next request will be for you to pay N100, 000; they will tell you the money will ensure that you collect your award letter.
“They will go ahead to tell you to pay into a certain bank account they give to you.
“Nobody has been apprehended; we have published in some newspapers; we have the telephone numbers and bank account numbers which law enforcement agents are using in their investigation.
“We also want to say in such instances, experience has shown that there might be insiders — corrupt staff giving out information to their partners outside, and if found out, such staff will not be spared’’, he said.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the procedures for obtaining the scholarship awards were through online application followed by nationwide interviews.
He said that after the interview, an inter-ministerial committee meeting comprising Ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs, Women and Social Development, Federal Character Commission and National Planning Commission ratified the results.
According to Nwaobiala, the Federal Scholarship Board processes three categories of awards: the Nigerian awards tenable in Nigerian tertiary institutions and the Bilateral Education Agreement received from countries with which Nigeria has such agreements.
The other category is the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan awards made to Nigeria and reciprocal awards by Nigeria for postgraduate studies tenable in Commonwealth countries.