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Students Accuse Delta Health Ministry Officials, Nursing Colleges Of Admission Racketeering, Charging Candidates N500,000 To N1Million

Posted by Samuel on Wed 29th May, 2024 -

Some of them alleged that they paid between 500,000 and N1 million for admission into the various institutions across the state.

Admission Racketeering

Students at the Delta State Colleges of Nursing have leveled accusations of extortion against officials from both the health ministry and the colleges of nursing.

Some of them alleged that they paid between 500,000 and N1 million for admission into the various institutions across the state.

According to the students, the recent refund of an undisclosed amount of illegal fees extorted from students of the state-owned colleges of nursing sciences was a ‘mere jamboree to deceive the public and disabuse the minds of the people on the massive extortion going on the institutions across the state’.

The state governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, last month following a series of complaints by over 162 students concerning the unapproved and illegal collection of fees, ordered the refund of such fees imposed on students of the colleges of nursing sciences in Asaba and Sapele.

SaharaReporters has gathered that some affected students sent a Save Our Soul message to the governor, urging him to set up an independent panel outside the Ministry of Health to probe the activities of the management of the colleges in order to bring sanity to the schools.

Some students of the institutions who spoke to SaharaReporters on condition of anonymity alleged that some officials of the health ministry were behind the admission racketeering.

According to some of the students, regarding the recently concluded nursing council examination which commenced on May 7, 2024, the council approved a fee of N53,200.00 each for enrolment which was paid directly to the government's account through Remita but some ministry officials extorted an additional N50,000 from each student as an administrative fee, which was not approved.

The students also alleged that many of them paid between N500,000 and N1 million each to secure admission into the various colleges of nursing in the state.

One of the affected students, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "The nursing council requirement fees for the Post Basic Nursing Program for 2024 were also inflated by over 200% for students to pay without the council’s approval, including payment for indexing, research proposal/defence and computer training which were not part of the council requirements.

“Acceptance fee for which the council approved only N20,000, students were made to pay the sum N30,000 each. The council approved a flat rate of N3,125 each for basic school education curriculum, procedure booklets and records of practical instruction but the administration of each of the colleges, without any approval, charged students N12,500.00 each for the three items.

"Students were made to pay N30,000.00 for Indexing, N20,000.00 for Research Proposal/Defence and another N20,000.00 for computer training whereas these were not part of the Council’s requirement for 2024.

“The sum of N40,000 was also extorted from students of the basic nursing/midwifery for acceptance for Delta State Students and N50,000 for non-Deltans. We therefore call on the governor to prevail on the commissioner to refund the entire N50,000 which they call administrative fee because it is a way of defrauding students.

“We call for the refund of the whole amount. We want to put it on record that the total amount currently being extorted from students from the various colleges of nursing sciences across the state is over N200,000.00 per student."

Also speaking on condition of anonymity, another aggrieved student said the admission of new students into the 2024/2025 academic session which ought to have closed about five months ago, was still going on in some of the colleges and that the entrance examination conducted by some of the colleges was deliberately made tough for a greater number of the candidates to fail.

According to the student, the examination was made tougher to give room for admission racketeering perpetrated by some officials in the health ministry.

The student said, "For instance, in the College of Nursing Science, Agbor, 800 candidates sat the entrance examination, but only 36 passed on merit. In the same vein, in the College of Nursing Sciences, Warri, 800 candidates also sat the entrance examination but only 40 passed with merit, while in the College of Nursing Sciences, Eku, 700 sat the examination and only 41 passed with merit and to make up for the number of students required for each college, admission racketeers use that as an opportunity to demand between N500,000 and N1 million from each candidate who failed to process their admissions through the back door.

“Now, Agbor has admitted about 200 students; Warri, 150 while Eku which is still admitting, has already offered admission to 100 students.

"Admission into Delta State colleges of nursing sciences is now for the highest bidders. It is now ‘cash and carry’. It has been so politicised that even those who did not take the examination were given admission as long as their parents could afford to pay millions of naira.

“We believe the Commissioner is aware of all the rot going on in the schools and special attention must be focused on the College of Nursing Sciences, Eku in the Ethiope East Local Government Area of the state because what is happening there is very bad.”

“The kind of corruption there is beyond human comprehension. The training of nurses in this facility is akin to a military camp where students study under fear, threat of expulsion and victimisation if they report their ordeal to the press or even to their parents. So we live in fear,"
the student added.

Condemning what is currently happening at the state nursing schools, a staff member of the health ministry in Asaba, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the “extortion and corruption going on across all the colleges of nursing in the state”.

The source said, "Our fear is that in the nearest future, with the calibre of students who have been given admission now and the level of corruption being perpetrated by administrative officials of the colleges and aided by some ministry officials, Delta State will be turning out half-baked nurses and midwives.

“This is a threat to the health care delivery policy of Governor Oborevwori's administration.

"I can tell you for free, even the nursing services management has been complaining and is frustrated. The management is not happy with the situation, especially with the officials from the health ministry conniving with some officials of the National Association of Nurses and Midwives (NAN&M) in the Delta State chapter to hijack the conduct of the entrance examination and ultimately the entire process of admission of new students into these colleges.”

The students however called on Governor Oborevwori to urgently investigate the health ministry and the running of government-owned colleges of nursing sciences in the state.

When SaharaReporters contacted the state Commissioner for Health, Joseph Onojaeme, he met a corrupt system when he got into office but had been trying to fix it.

He debunked that he or the officials in his office were involved in the racketeering, describing the allegations as “baseless and unfounded”.

He said, "I met a very corrupt system; we are trying to repair and corruption is fighting back seriously. Before now, money collected from students for admission was drastically reduced and admission was based on merit.

“If anyone should bring evidence that I or my Personal Assistant is involved in the alleged extortion in the colleges, I will resign from office because it's not a ‘do or die’ affair; it is not a must that I must be a commissioner. So all the allegations against me are not true and they are unfounded."

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