Awka – Thirty indigent students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, were on Wednesday presented with scholarship cheques for the sum of 50,000 naira each as educational support funds from the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, UNIZIK chapter.
The cheques were handed over to the benefitting students who emerged after a thorough selection process, having met the required standards one of which is having a specified cumulative GPA.
The scholarship was for the 2019/2020 academic session and would have been given last year, but for the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the shutdown of schools across the country.
Also at the event which took place at the University’s auditorium, a student of the university, Miss Anyaora Chinelo, was presented with a cheque for a hundred thousand naira from ASUU national, as the most deserving student in all public universities in Nigeria.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Charles Esimone represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof Joseph Ikechebelu, demonstrates the commitment ASUU-NAU towards the welfare of the students.
He noted that the gesture is more commendable, owing to the fact that most of the ASUU members are still being owed by the Federal Government, yet they found it proper to assist the indigent students who are struggling to acquire education.
“This is a time of hardship and almost everybody is affected yet these lecturers were able to bring out something to support their students. This is selfless and highly commendable and should be emulated by every other organization in the university community. It is my prayer that their pockets will not run dry,” the VC said.
In his remarks, the Dean Students’ Affairs in the University, Professor Chinonso Achebe said the initiative by ASUU-NAU is in line with the efforts of the University management aimed at making life more meaningful for the students.
According to him, the University management has taken various measures to ensure that students’ interests are protected one of which included the postponement of the ‘No school fees, no exams’ directive, to avail the students and their parents ample time to raise the monies.
Earlier, the ASUU-NAU Chairperson, Dr Steve Ufoaroh who explained that members of the chapter were taxed to raise the scholarship funds, having recognized how the students suffer to get education, said the sacrifice is part of their corporate social responsibility towards their students.
He promised that the exercise will be an annual event.
“Despite the fact that all academic staff of UNIZIK are owed salaries between four to twelve months, ASUU-NAU members still saw the need to help in alleviating the sufferings of our students, who have borne the pain of the ruling class’ insensitivity to the sufferings of the masses. During the COVID-19 lockdown, most of these students could not go home. They stayed back doing all manner of menial jobs such as bricklaying, mason among others, to raise funds for their education and we saw that it is important for us to assist them,” Ufoaroh noted.
He continued; “This scholarship is evident to the fact that ASUU as a union understands the plight of our students and as such, will go any length to protect their interest, which has made us resist many anti-student policies of the Federal Government because we are here and understand the challenges our students face.”
Congratulating the beneficiaries of the scholarship, the ASUU-NAU chairperson urged them to make use of the funds to pay their school fees and give their parents and sponsors some financial respite for one academic session.
In his words, “Students should see us as partners in the struggle to save the soul of our public universities, by working together to compel government at all levels to adequately fund education, so as to give every youth the opportunity to access quality education.”
Some of the benefitting students, Chinelo Anyaora, a 300-level Educational Foundations student, who is an orphan and Emmanuel Mkpurunchi, a 500-level Electrical Engineering student, expressed appreciation to ASUU-NAU for the scholarship and said it will greatly aid their academic pursuit.