No fewer than 70 Bayelsa State indigenes on state scholarships in Malaysia have raised the alarm that they are stranded in the Asian country.
There was a strong indication on Monday that the beneficiaries of the programme, who had graduated from different academic disciplines in the country, were stranded and battling deportation threat from Malaysian Government.
A son of former Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi, is said to be one of them.
The graduates had sent an appeal letter to Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson subsequent to threats of possible deportation by the Malaysian Government owing to alleged unpaid allowances and inability to renew their visas.
The letter, signed by the Chairman of the Bayelsa Students Community in Malaysia, Mr. Kelvin Otele, was made available to our correspondent through electronic mail.
Otele said the students graduated in flying colours in the fields of Business Management, Engineering and Information System Management since 2012.
But Otele decried the failure of the scholarship board in the state to settle outstanding allowances, saying the development had rendered many of them stranded and others deported in shameful circumstances.
Otele, in the letter dated July 25, alleged that the scholarship board was not communicating properly with the troubled students.
He said the board was fond of issuing threats to intimidate students from protesting against the sad development.
He said, “In October, 2012, you (Dickson) ordered the State Schorlarship Board Chairman and his executives to visit Malaysia and take care of our challenges.
“They did and as we are writing to you, the students have been rendered incommunicado for 12 months and seemingly abandoned. Since July, 2013, some students have been arrested and deported over visa expiration because Malaysian Government gave only one year visa to all foreign students which is renewable when school fees are paid.
“Right now, some students have graduated and cannot return home. We plead with the Governor that this is the last year for our programm to end as over 70 students have graduated from first class to general degrees in Business Management, Engineering and Information System Management since 2012.
“None of us have seen you like other beneficiaries of similar scholarship programmes in United Kingdom and United States.
“We will appreciate that if the plea is not granted, the state government would assist by announcing in the media that our programme in Malaysia is over.”