Nigerian students arriving in Bim tonight
Dozens of Nigerian students are due to arrive in Barbados tonight, four months after their trip was delayed over Ebola concerns.
Thirty-four students – the first batch of the 88 expected in the island – are scheduled to land at the Grantley Adams International Airport, sources told Barbados TODAY.
They will be arriving from Trinidad where they have been staying for the past few weeks.
Sources confirmed that their stay in the neighbouring Caribbean island exceeded the 21-day incubation period for symptoms of the potentially deadly virus to show up.
While in Barbados, the Nigerians will pursue a nine-month course of study in the areas of hospitality, culinary arts and agriculture at the Barbados Community College from January next year.
In a release issued to the media this evening via the Barbados Government Information Service, the Freundel Stuart administration said it was “looking forward to welcoming the students and others pursuing similar programmes, as it seeks to enhance its drive in scholastic tourism”.
Back in August, the planned visit by the students sparked controversy as residents expressed fears that Ebola could spread to Barbados.
Businesswoman Donna St Hill, who was involved in the venture to bring the Nigerians to Barbados as part of an economic diversification programme, advocated for the students.
She said they had already been tested and would undergo further checks before arriving in Barbados.
“Of all the people that will land in this country, they are the ones that will have a medical certificate that they have no diseases. No other visitors will land with that,” St Hill said.
“Some two or three days before they travel, they will do the specific EVD [Ebola virus disease] check on our healthy students who have been nowhere near an outbreak.”
Government had postponed their arrival so that an isolation unit could first be established for anyone testing positive for the disease. A four-bed facility has since been set up at Enmore.
While Ebola has killed more than 7,500 people, Nigeria was declared free of the disease by the World Health Organization back in October.