Our student, Yahaya, neither detained nor stranded in Russia, Sokoto Authorities debunk Nigerian media reports

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Sokoto State Government has said that its student who is studying at the Irkutsk State Medical University (ISMU) in Russia, Yahaya Usman is neither detained by the country’s immigration nor stranded as reported in some news platforms.

It will be recalled that in the last three weeks, some media organisations have reported Yahaya as being detained by Russia immigration for alleged corruption in Sokoto State Scholarship Board.

Last week, the student received donations from Nigerian citizens including the founder of Maryam Abacha American University, Prof. Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo who donated N1 million to enable Yahaya settle part of the tuition.

However, Sokoto State Government in a statement by the Permanent Secretary of the state Scholarship Board, Alhaji Bello Isah, made available dated 20th June, 2022, said it confirmed from the Russian university that the country’s immigration does not detain foreign students.

“… migration service being part of the Ministry of Internal Affaires of Russian Federation does not detain foreign students,” the state government quoted the university as saying.

The state government in the statement further quoted the university as saying that, “Mr. Usman is a 5th year student of General Medicine Faculty, safe and sound, attending classes and living freely without any pressure from the part of the university.”

The statement said government called on individuals and corporate organisations to note that while assisting Yahaya, his claims about being detained and stranded were false.

It also provided contact information of the university, including an email and phone number for those who want to find out the true situation, to contact the university (foreign-students@mail.ru and +73952243509).

Read the full statement below:

Our attention has been drawn to media reports in the PRNigeria, Daily Trust, The Nation and several other online media platforms on June 16, 2022 that a founder of Maryam Abacha American University, one Prof. Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo donated N1 million to Yahaya Usman YZ, a sponsored Sokoto state student who is with the Irkutsk State Medical University (ISMU) in Russia. The report claimed that Yahaya is stranded and under the mercy of Russian immigration after his suspension by the university and evicted from the campus hostel.

PRNigeria specifically quoted Prof Gwarzo as saying, “The future of Usman Yahaya is at stake. We have to do something to ensure that his education is not only affected, but that he is also not detained by Russian authorities, eventually. The 1 million naira I gave through the intervention of ANSE and other expected donations from philanthropic Nigerians will go a long way to rescue Yahaya.”

We wish to state categorically and for the information of the general public that indeed, Yahaya who is an indigene of Sokoto state and initially sponsored by Sokoto State Scholarship Board to study Medicine at NAHDA College in Sudan. He personally requested to transfer his studies to Irkutsk State Medical University (ISMU) Russia.

We state also that ever since he was in Sudan and after his transfer to Russia, at no time did the Scholarship Board fail to pay his bursary or any of his entitlements.

Although Yahaya has spent eight years (2014 to date), enjoying scholarship of Sokoto State government even when his sponsorship was supposed to officially terminate by 2019, on the directives of the State Governor, His Excellency, Rt Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the Scholarship Board has continued to pay his bursaries, including medical bills. Even last year when he claimed to have been detained by Russian immigration, the governor approved the settlement of all the bills, including a return ticket back to Nigeria to sort out some of his personal issues, but he refused to return.

Two weeks ago, the Board’s attention was drawn to media publications about Yahaya’s claim that he was detained by Russian immigration as a result of non-payment of his tuition and upkeep allowances. But records at Sokoto State Ministry of Finance show that Yahaya’s 2021/2022 tuition and upkeep allowance were already paid through his personal account.

That notwithstanding, Sokoto state Scholarship Board wrote to Irkutsk State Medical University (ISMU) to confirm Yahaya’s true condition and the following is the full response from the university:

“First of all I was glad to talk to you on the phone on Friday. Sorry for the late response due to our efforts to understand the situation around our student Usman YZ Yahaya. We came to know that in Nigerian media there appeared an article stating that the above mentioned student is arrested and detained in prison due to a tuition fee debt. I would like to assure you that this is a fake information which doesn’t correspond reality in any of the mentioned details.

Mr. Usman is a 5th year student of General Medicine Faculty, safe and sound, attending classes and living freely without any pressure from the part of the university, he indeed has a debt for paying the current semester fee but due to the sanctions upon our country’s bank system the university gives time to the students to solve the question with money transfer. Moreover, migration service being part of the Ministry of Internal Affaires of Russian Federation does not detain foreign students.

We would be glad to give you more details about this student but according to the rules we can do it only upon your official request letter (on the letterhead of your organization with the signature of the person incharge) in the name of the Rector of our university Prof. Igor Malov or Vice-rector for international relations Dr. Tamara Krupskaya. Such mode of exchange of information between our institutions will let us avoid fakes.

Here, I would like to give you some general information about our university fee structure for your reference. The tuition fee for the 5th year English Medium students is 250,000 rubles per year, 1 semester tuition fee is 125 000 rubles which is around 2000 dollars according to the current rate. Accommodation fee is around 20,000 rubles per year ($320), state fee for visa extension is 1,600 rubles ($26), medical insurance policy is 11,850 rubles ($194), all paid once a year. These are all the compulsory expenses for a 5th year student of our university. The official web site of our university www.ismu.baikal.ru, page of International relations department https://www.ismu.baikal.ru/ismu/page_international.php

We use the e-mail foreign-students@mail.ru as our main one due to technical reasons, our office phone number +73952243509.

Please, do not hesitate to contact us again for any further information.

We are open for cooperation in resolving the situation with fake information about our university.

With kind regards,

Elena Orel, Leading specialist, International and Student Relations Department, Irkutsk State Medical University, Russia”.

We call on whoever is interested in knowing the truth, to contact the university through foreign-students@mail.ru or call +73952243509. We repeat that Yahaya is not under any immigration detention in Russia and he has never been abandoned.

We therefore wish to inform the public that Yahaya is NOT and has NEVER been detained by Russian immigration as he has deceived some reputable media organisations in believing. We also wish to state that the Sokoto State Scholarship Board and by extension the Sokoto State Government, does not owe Yahaya any entitlement. He has duly been paid all that is entitled to him.

Finally, while we are not against individuals or corporate organisations assisting Yahaya, such assistance should not be under the premise that his tuition and upkeep allowance have not been paid by Sokoto state government.

Signed
Alhaji Bello Isah,
Permanent Secretary,
Sokoto State Scholarship Board
20th June 2022.


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