More than 100 Nigerian students on scholarship in United Kingdom universities could be deported as early as this week.
According to the UK Telegraph, the affected students would have to return home before Christmas because a bursary scheme funded by a regional agency in Nigeria has been cancelled. The name of the sponsor agency was however not disclosed.
The students who were described as “some of the Nigeria’s brightest undergraduates” are saddled with debts, some as much as £20,000.
Although many of them completed their courses in the last academic year, they have been told that they will not receive their degree certification.The newspaper said some of the affected students claimed they have been warned they could be deported by Friday, October 20.
It was said that the Nigerian High Commission in London confirmed that 152 students had been caught up in the scandal, and that the sponsor agency had been left with a “draught of funding” due to a slump in Nigeria’s oil revenues.
The High Commission said in a statement that additional funding had been approved for 87 students.There was however, no mention of how soon the bill would be paid.
The universities of Leeds and Essex said they sympathized with the affected students but did not say whether their visas would be revoked. They said that they were working closely with the Nigerian High Commission to resolve the dispute.
The University of Sussex claimed it had allowed one student to graduate, but declined to comment on whether their transcript had been withheld. It added that it had been providing “some financial assistance for living costs in cases of particular hardship.”