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UK university orders Nigerian students to leave over unpaid fees

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Nigerian students at Teesside University in the United Kingdom have been told to leave the school and return to Nigeria due to unpaid fees. This action is in line with UK immigration regulations, according to the university.

“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,” a university spokesperson told the BBC.

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The university stated that it had “no choice” as the failure to pay tuition fees breached visa sponsorship rules. They said they had made every effort to help the affected students, including offering customized payment plans.

However, many students protested outside the campus on Tuesday, accusing the university of being “heartless” and unfair. Adenike Ibrahim, one of the students, shared her experience with the BBC. She was close to completing her dissertation when she was removed from her course for failing to make a payment. Despite now having paid her fees in full, she must leave the UK with her young son and cannot re-enroll.

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

The Home Office responded to the situation, stating that the decision to offer or withdraw visa sponsorship rests with the sponsoring institution. They added that when a visa is shortened or canceled, individuals should “take steps to regularize their stay or make arrangements to leave the UK.” The Home Office informed the students that they had no right to appeal the decision.

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As of the time of filing this report, the Nigerian Government under President Bola Tinubu has not responded to the students’ ordeal in the UK. This development comes amid Nigeria’s foreign exchange crisis and soaring inflation, which surged to 33.69 percent in April.

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