The Federal Ministry of Education has warned the public against the activities of admission and scholarship fraudsters asking unsuspecting scholarship applicants to pay some money for the processing of their admissions and scholarship awards.
Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, gave the warning in Abuja on Wednesday at a news conference.
Nwaobiala who said that the fraudsters also made same demands on candidates seeking admission into unity schools, however, said the ministry was working in collaboration with security agencies to apprehend the culprits and prosecute them.
He said: “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. Please be mindful of racketeers.’’
He explained that the ministry does not charge money to offer admission at any level and if a candidate was not selected under national merit, state equity or other criteria, there were no agents that would be paid to make the admission possible.
Nwaobiala, therefore, advised candidates to disregard those calls and messages, adding that whoever had any transaction with the fraudsters did 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.
According to him, 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.
Nwaobiala added that 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.
He said the other category is the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan awards, made to Nigerians and reciprocal awards by Nigeria for postgraduate studies tenable in Commonwealth countries.