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EXCLUSIVE : Tinubu’s Scholarship Scam: 1,000 Ogun Students Duped, One Arrested

ALGON Dissociates From Fraud, Confirms Scheme

Daud Olatunji

In a shocking revelation, over 1,000 students in Ogun State might have fallen victims to a fraudulent scholarship scheme named “Renewed Hope Scholarship,” orchestrated by a group under the guise of National Image Tuition-Free Scholarship University/Polytechnic.

PLATFORM TIMES exclusively gathered that the scheme, which promised tuition-free education, demanded each student to deposit N6,500 into a Polaris Bank account.

PLATFORM TIMES reliably gathered that the scheme had commenced in some parts of Ogun State, and over 200 candidates from about five local government areas, including Imeko; Ipokia; Ijebu-North, and Abeokuta-South, have become victims after paying an illegal N6,500.

Investigation by PLATFORM TIMES revealed that a group under the name National Image Tuition-Free Scholarship University/Polytechnic organized what was described as a Renewed Hope scholarship scheme. 

Two forms were provided for the students; PLATFORM TIMES obtained the forms and observed that the logo of President Tinubu was inscribed with the name of his political mantra “Renewed Hope.”

One of the forms with the title “admission processing” was signed by one Bolarinwa A, congratulating the students over their screening. The forms read, “We congratulate you for the successful screening exercise and thereby offer you admission into one of our Fifty (50) reputable Institutions with a Tuition-Free Scholarship program facilitated by National Image Magazine. 

“You are to continue your admission processing with N6,500 only as processing fees payable to National Image Mag – Polaris Bank Account No:- 1771765483, and you are to proceed with your Registration after collecting your Admission Letter next week. 

“For the purpose of registration, students are required to bring the following items along: (a) Original Certificate(s) of Educational qualification claimed (b) Original Birth Certificate or statutory declaration of age(c) Four(4) Passport size Photographs. Please note that this letter payment will be used for the collection of your admission letter. Congratulations! Signed by Bolarinwa A., For Executive Director N.I. Educational Consult Scholarship Board.”

The group was apprehended on Thursday at the secretariat of the Abeokuta-South local government in Ake, Abeokuta, when the students protested against the payment of money for the form. The situation escalated, leading to the arrest of one of the organizers.

Speaking on the development, Chairman Abeokuta-South local government, Omolaja Majekodunmi, whose council was used where the trouble started, said he was not aware of the scheme.

 Majekodunmi said he took swift action by ordering the arrest of one of the organizers after the secret was leaked. However, he refuted the claim that ALGON had sent the suspect, questioning the legitimacy of the payment into ALGON’s account. 

According to Majekodunmi, the group has a history of similar activities in other councils but now faces consequences in Abeokuta. He said, “Despite being out of the country, I instructed my team to apprehend him. 

Fortunately, the House of Assembly lawmaker for constituency 1 was present and contacted the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), who then called the Commissioner of Police (CP). I directed them to arrest him and take him to Adatan.

However, he refused to provide a statement, claiming he doesn’t know how to write one. Upon being taken to Eleweran, he mentioned ALGON. 

This incident does not limit to my Local Government (LG). Victims from Imeko and Ipokia have reported his actions, using the LG Secretariat in Ake as a hub.

“He has a history of such activities, having escaped consequences in Imeko and Ipokia, but now faces repercussions in Abeokuta. 

“The suspect is not our staff; he asserts he represents ALGON.”

Speaking for the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, the state Chairman of the association, Mr. Sikiru Emiola-Gazal, distanced the organization from the fraudulent activities. 

Emiola-Gazal, who spoke with PLATFORM TIMES on the phone on Thursday, asserted that the scholarship program was meant to be tuition-free, with no mention of collecting money.

He clarified that ALGON’s national headquarters was involved in distributing the forms but vehemently denied any knowledge of a fee requirement. 

He said, “I spoke with the SSG this afternoon. There is an ALGON program, a scholarship, in which we were involved. 

They sent the form, claiming that some people want to assist the president, and it will be held across the country.

We distributed the forms, but there was never any mention of collecting money. We were very specific and asked them about this, and they said it is tuition-free; it will cover tuition fees.

“It is supported by some people who are supporting the president. This came from the national headquarters of ALGON. I was at the meeting where they made the presentation, and I brought the forms.

“When I was informed that they were collecting money, I spoke with the guy and the Chief of Staff to the president. I asked if there was any time we discussed collecting money, and he said no. 

“So, you got yourself into the problem. It was never part of the arrangement. It was supposed to be a scholarship at specific institutions for those interested, but the idea of collecting money, no. Myself, the Chief of Staff, and the national president of ALGON discussed it while he was at Eleweran, Dr. Bamgbola. 

This was not part of the presentation at the national headquarters; the issue of money came out. 

“ALGON is not involved in collecting money. ALGON is aware and involved; they are doing it across the country, starting with the South West. But the idea of collecting money is not. 

“They interact with. I was told that Ijebu-North said it happened at their place, but it did not happen here in Ijebu-Ode.

“ They called it screening the beneficiaries until it happened today. He said they collected N6,500 in their local government. But I told the guy this was not part of our arrangement. It was never part of our discussion. 

“The national headquarters of ALGON is involved.” 

Confirming the incident, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Omolola Odutola, disclosed that the controversy arose when one Honorable Atobatele intervened during the form collection, arguing that a scholarship shouldn’t involve any fees. 

She said this disagreement led to the case being transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for further scrutiny.

 She added that a preliminary investigation at Oke-Itoku division revealed that the funds were collected under the pretense of an “admission processing fee.”

 “The police are keen on understanding the extent of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON)’s involvement and the terms of their partnership.”

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