Over 137 scholars sponsored abroad through Nigeria’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) have reportedly absconded as confirmed by Sonny Echono, Executive Secretary of the agency.
Echono spoke on Tuesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee investigating the alleged mismanagement of N2.3tn tertiary education tax by TETFund.
He stressed that the scholars who were sponsored by TETFund for “higher education” abroad refuse to return to the country after completing their programs.
The Executive Secretary said, “Some of the scholars that have been sponsored, unpatriotically when they go, they enjoy our scholarship, acquire a higher degree, then refuse to come back, it has become a major crisis.
“The scholarship requires that you will come back. It is required that you have a guarantor and in many cases, the guarantor has suffered undue hardship because when you disappear, we hold the guarantor to pay all the money expended on your behalf but that has not been effective.”
Echono said TETFund is working with stakeholders for “stringent and effective measures” to be taken against those who refuse to return to the country for Nigerians to benefit from their expertise.
“We believe that in a system where we work with our embassies and the institutions, we can enforce the repayment for those who insist they will not come back,” he said.