The House of Representatives has finally suspend the 2015/2016 Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation and Development (PRESSID).

The decision was taken yesterday after the Hon. Aminu Sulaiman-led House Committee on Education met with the chairman, Implementation Committee, PRESSID and executive secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, at the National Assembly.

The House Committee said the scholarship scheme was characterised by “monumental abuse” and encouraging “education imbalance” against the country’s North.

In a swift reaction, The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission Prof. Okojie denied the allegations.

Okojie told the House Committee that candidates for the Presidential Special Scholarship scheme were selected “on merit”, adding that he would not be party to a system that would deliberately exclude some parts of the country.

“Unless we are saying that the criteria have to change, I will not advise that the programme should be scrapped,” he emphasised, pointing out that he would relay whatever transpired at the meeting to the president.

The House Committee subsequently directed that the PRESSID Implementation Committee stop the exercise pending its scrutiny of its process, procedures and beneficiaries. The Committee also summoned all parties involved in the selection process.

Okojie was also directed to provide details of the PRESSID Implementation Committee membership list and Terms of Reference of the PRESSID Implementation Committee. A comprehensive list of all applications was also demanded by the House Committee.

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