Delta State Governor orders immediate return of Nigerian students from Barbados
The plug has been pulled on the Nigerian Delta State Youth Empowerment Programme in Barbados.
The programme, which had been dogged by controversy ever since the 90 Nigerian students arrived here in December to pursue a nine-month course of study at the Barbados Community College (BCC) in tourism and agriculture, has been terminated with immediate effect, according to a notice delivered to the Casa Grande Hotel, Oldbury, St Philip.The students confirmed they had received formal communication that they would be going home.
It stated: “Dear students, please be advised that the Delta State Youth Empowerment Programme Barbados has been terminated with immediate effect by order of His Excellency Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.
“Further notification will follow to all students from the state government confirming the above status and the subsequent repatriation protocols for return to Nigeria.”
An official close to the programme told Barbados TODAY that while the notice had come from Delta State officials, the US$4.5 milllion initiative had actually been terminated by the Barbados Government.
“They [students] are not being allowed to attend the BCC. All are to return,” the official said, adding that they were still in the dark as to why the plug had been pulled.
“We don’t know why.”
However, liaison officer for the Barbados Government Dr Derek Murray told Barbados TODAY that as far as he was aware, the Freundel Stuart administration did not terminate the programme and, in fact, several options were being examined to make the project work. He declined to elaborate on those options.
Murray also said the information he had was that authorities were awaiting word from the Immigration Department for “certain particulars” so student visas could be issued.Ever since arriving in Barbados at the end of December, the students have been embroiled in controversy, first complaining about the standard of accommodation and the quality of food and lack of water.
However, a small group of the students subsequently apologized to local and Nigerian authorities for the conduct of their colleagues, saying that some of the complaints were fabricated and asking that the programme be maintained.
Before that development, Delta State officials had indicated that they would not only keep the programme, but expand it.“It is the wish of the people and Government of Barbados as well as the wish of the people and Government of Delta State to strengthen this initial step, make it a success and build upon it and scale up our lines of cooperation,” Deputy Governor of Delta State Professor Amos Agbe Utuama told Barbados TODAY when he travelled to Barbados last month.
The Delta State Empowerment Programme also has a Trinidad and Tobago leg for which US$5.5 million was allocated.Students in the twin-island republic are pursuing oil-related courses and that project is reported to be doing well.
Minister of Education Ronald Jones is out of the island and calls to his mobile phone for a response were unsuccessful.
Barbados TODAY was also unable to reach his Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Harry Husbands.