UK University Expels, Set To Deport Many Nigerian Students Over Unpaid Fees

NIGERIAN students at Teesside University in the United Kingdom have been told to quit the school and return to Nigeria over unpaid fees.

According to BBC, Teesside University said the move was in line with the UK’s immigration regulations.

“Teesside University is proud to be a global institution with a diverse student population but is also very aware of its visa issuance and compliance obligations.

“These strict external regulations ensure that the university fully supports a robust immigration system and are outside of the university’s control,” BBC said, quoting a university spokesperson.

The university said it had “no choice” as failure to pay was a breach of visa sponsorship rules. It said it had made every effort to help the affected students, including with bespoke payment plans.

Meanwhile, many students who protested outside the campus on Tuesday accused the university of being “heartless” and unfair.

Adenike Ibrahim told the BBC she was close to handing in her dissertation when she was kicked off her course because she could not make a payment.

Despite having now paid her fees in full, she will have to leave the UK with her young son and cannot re-enrol.

“I did default [on payments], but I’d already paid 90 per cent of my tuition fees, and I went to all my classes,” she told the broadcaster. “I called them and asked to reach an agreement, but they do not care what happens to their students.”

Esther Obigwe said she repeatedly tried to speak to the university about her financial struggles but received no response, until she too was blocked from her studies and received notice to leave the country.

“I attended all of my classes and seminars, I’m a hell of an active student,” she said.

“It is disheartening, I am now on antidepressants and being here alone, I have nobody to talk to.

“For over two months, I’ve barely eaten or slept and I don’t understand why this is being meted at us, we didn’t do anything wrong.”
She added that most of the students had “spent a lot of money to be here”.

Jude Salubi, who was studying to be a social worker, was midway through a placement when he was told his access to the university was suspended and he would have to leave the country.

Prior to that, he travelled from Teesside to Liverpool each weekend to work 18 hours in an attempt to pay off the outstanding fees.
“As of now I have paid £14,000 and have a balance of £14,000,” he said.

“I am willing to come to an agreement as to how I will make this payment, but I need guarantees that I will be re enrolled into school and my visa restored.”

Reacting to the development, the Home Office said the decision to offer or withdraw visa sponsorship rested with the sponsoring institution.

It said that when a visa was shortened or cancelled, individuals should “take steps to regularise their stay or make arrangements to leave the UK.”

In a letter, the Home Office told the students they had no right to appeal.

As of the time filing the report, the Nigerian Government under President Bola Tinubu is yet to response to the students’ ordeal in the UK.

This development comes amid Nigeria’s foreign exchange crisis and soaring inflation, which surged 33.69 per cent in April.

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