• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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BusinessDay

FG wades into deportation controversy at UK Teesside University

Protesting Teesside students

The Federal Government has intervened in the controversial deportation orders issued to several Nigerian students at Teesside University in the UK.

A delegation led by Christian Okeke,
Ambassador from the Nigerian Embassy in the UK, alongside leaders of the Nigerian Students Union in the UK, will meet with the university’s management to resolve the situation.

The intervention follows allegations that Teesside University unfairly ordered the deportation of Nigerian students in the midst of their studies, primarily due to unpaid fees.

This development was confirmed in a statement by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Director of Media, Public Relations, and Protocol at the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).

The decision emerged after a virtual meeting involving Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM, Okeke (Ambassador),
Yemi Soile, Nigerian Students Union UK President and several affected students.

During the meeting, students shared their grievances, hoping for a positive resolution.

Dabiri-Erewa urged the students to remain calm and not to resort to any unlawful actions, while appealing to the university to treat the students with fairness and justice. Ambassador Okeke echoed these sentiments.

BusinessDay Newspapers had reported that Teesside University expelled several Nigerian students and initiated deportation proceedings, citing unpaid fees and compliance with UK immigration regulations.

The university stated that non-payment of fees breaches visa sponsorship rules and emphasized its commitment to visa compliance.

Despite efforts to assist students with tailored payment plans, the decision led to significant protests.

Affected students, including Adenike Ibrahim and Esther Obigwe, expressed their distress and frustration. Ibrahim, who had nearly completed her dissertation, and Obigwe, who struggled with financial difficulties, both face deportation despite making efforts to pay their fees.

The UK Home Office reiterated that visa sponsorship decisions rest with the sponsoring institution. Students whose visas are shortened or cancelled must regularize their stay or leave the UK, with no right to appeal.

This issue arises amid Nigeria’s foreign exchange crisis and soaring inflation, which hit 33.69 percent in April.

The Nigerian government’s intervention aimed to ensure that the affected students receive a fair and just resolution to their predicament.