A list of scholarship candidates circulating on social media is fake, the federal education ministry has confirmed.
The circulating list, tagged JUSTICE TO ONE IS JUSTICE TO ALL, was attached to a letter purportedly written by a Nigerian abroad to the education minister Adamu Adamu to complain about the skewness of scholarships awarded.
The writer complained the list was an embarrassment to the north.
The Muslim rights group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), raised concern, asking the government to “confirm or deny the authenticity” of the list.
The list, labelled in the circulation as “anti north”, claimed 19 northern states had only 21 candidates, while 17 southern states had 70.
“This list has greatly short-changed the North. What criteria was used to generate this anti-north list?”, said MURIC director Ishaq Akintola.
He said having only one Muslim among 13 candidates from north central on the list was an exercise “designed for the purpose of Christianising the north.”
“Although we suspect that this list may be another fake news and the handiwork of enemies of peace, yet the Federal Government must speak up on it before it causes further damage to the already thin veneer of mutual confidence in the North-South dichotomy as well as the fragile Christian-Muslim relationship in the country.”
The ministry said it didn’t know about the list in circulation when Daily Trust reached out on Wednesday morning.
It did not approve scholarship awards to the listed candidates under the 2020 Bilateral Education Agreement, it added.
The circulating list was partly extracted and manipulated from previous applications sent to the ministry for awards obtainable from Russia.
It “did not emanate from the ministry and is purely [the work] of mischief makers,” the ministry’s director of public relations Ben Bem Goong told Daily Trust.
List of scholarship recipients from 2009 to date are on the ministry’s website.
The 2020 scholarship awarded has stalled on account of Covid-19, and list of successful candidates will be uploaded on its website when the exercise is over, said Goong.
He suspects the fake list is being circulated to embarrass the ministry or to dupe unsuspecting candidates.
Goong said candidates would be contacted directly by the Federal Scholarship Board and the awarding/host countries on their selection.