Fact Check

Teesside University expels Nigerian students amid Naira woes

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Teesside University has sparked outrage among Nigerian students as it expelled them from their courses and ordered them to leave the United Kingdom due to financial challenges triggered by the devaluation of the naira.

According to BBC reports, Nigerian students at Teesside University staged protests on campus on Tuesday to express their frustration after the institution took drastic measures following the economic crisis in Nigeria, which left many students struggling to pay tuition fees on time.

The decision to expel the students and report them to the Home Office came after the university claimed that their failure to pay tuition fees constituted a breach of visa sponsorship requirements.

Reacting to the expulsion, some affected students accused the university of adopting a “heartless” approach and expressed concerns about their future.

Adenike Ibrahim, one of the affected students, revealed her distressing experience after missing one payment and subsequently being expelled from her course and reported to the Home Office.

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

Esther Obigwe, another affected student, expressed her disappointment and revealed that she had been struggling with depression and isolation since the expulsion.

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

Jude Salubi, who was midway through a placement, described his desperate attempts to pay off outstanding fees and pleaded with the university to reinstate affected students.

“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.”

In response, a university spokesman defended the institution’s actions, citing strict visa compliance regulations. However, the spokesman acknowledged the challenging financial situation faced by some students and stated that the university had offered bespoke payment plans where requested.

Meanwhile, the Home Office reiterated that decisions regarding visa sponsorship rested with the sponsoring institution and advised affected individuals to take steps to regularize their stay or make arrangements to leave the UK.