The Kano State Scholarship Board on Thursday said it had spent over N8 billion on scholarships for Kano indigenes studying at home and abroad in the last five years.

The Executive Secretary of the board, Alhaji Abubakar Zakari, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano.

“The present government of Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje inherited about N8 billion debt for scholarships from the previous administration.

“We were able to settle part of the debt when we came, but presently we are owing about N800 million debt for Kano indigenes studying abroad.

“The government has continued to sponsor over 3,000 students in foreign countries left by the previous administration,” Zakari said.

He explained that at the moment, 162 students from Kano are studying in Sudan, France and other countries.

“Before the issue of COVID-19, we visited the students in Sudan and France, we were making arrangements to go to the other countries, but the pandemic stopped us.

“During this challenging period occasioned by the pandemic, we were able to send some funds to those students in France.

“But we are facing challenges to send to those students in Sudan, because the government there has restrictions on cash transfer.

“Therefore, we are doing everything possible to see that we send money to them so that they will not be stranded,” he said.

According to Zakari, the state government is also collaborating with France on improving the knowledge of lecturers from Kano.

He said that such collaboration was aimed at increasing the lecturers’ knowledge so as to give students at home quality education.

Zakari further revealed that the board is making arrangements to commence e-payment for the allowance of Kano students studying in Nigeria.

“I wish to inform you that when schools resume, we are making plans to increase the allowances of those local students, which has been the same for the past 15 years now.

“Since I assumed office, we have encouraged our local students to apply for the scholarships, and we have provided scratch cards for home students.”

He urged interested students to ensure that they had their personal account details, as they would not accept third party account details.

“We are also making arrangements to ensure that all institutions in the state give their host communities priority in terms of admission.

“Such is part of the institution’s corporate social responsibilities to their host communities,” he said.

The executive secretary added that the Board planned to sponsor 1000 students on skill acquisition in China to enable them establish businesses on their return.