By Uthman Mohammed
The Nigerian government has accused the Alabama State University of charging more than 40 state sponsored students for services they were not using.
The government filed the charges comes after U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins informed 41 students, who accused the University of “wrongfully withholding” their scholarship money and using it toward services they were not using, that the contract was between Nigeria and ASU.
In an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser, Success Jumbo, a plaintiff in the complaint, said “he hasn’t lived on campus since 2014.”
After his wedding in May 2014, Mr Jombo went to rent an apartment outside the University, but was still charged by the school.
He said: “I’ve approached ASU on several occasions, I even took my wife and my baby to them and said, ‘Look, I no longer live on campus. I believe you guys understand the importance of being married. I need to get this money so I can use it to pay for my housing elsewhere.”
Anthony Ifediba, a co-counsel for the plaintiffs, said ASU kept money meant to be used for daily living of the students. In an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser he estimates that the university may have withheld as much as $800,000 from the students.
Julian McPhillips, attorney for the students, said: “I hope it will sober Alabama State University up, and its new president, to realize that what these students are talking about is very serious and it’s having an adverse effect on them legally and I’d imagine public relations-wise.”
The University has denied it has done anything wrong.
A spokesperson said the education institute says it “adhered to and complied with every instruction and direction given to the University by the Nigerian government regarding that agreement.”