Comissiong calls on government to save nigeria programme
The Barbados Government is being asked to intervene to prevent Nigeria’s Delta State Youth Empowerment Programme from being scrapped.
The appeal from David Comissiong comes amid news that the initiative, which has been mired in controversy, is being shut down and the 90 Nigerian students sent home.Comissiong, a former director of the Commission for Pan-American Affairs, noted that what had transpired was very regrettable and tragic.
But he insisted that such a decision would hurt both Barbados and the students.
“We are going to make every effort to impress upon the governmental authorities of both the federal government of Nigeria and the Government of Delta State that this programme is too important for it not to go forward. We are going to make every effort to save it,” the Pan-Africanist said.
He disclosed to Barbados TODAY that efforts were being made to contact the Nigerian High Commissioner in Trinidad and Tobago and the Nigerian association in that country, through the Caribbean Pan-African Network based in Port of Spain.
Noting that he had spoken to the students about the matter following a session last Friday, the activist said they “desperately wished for the educational programme to take place”.
“The students expressed to me that if this programme is cancelled it will have a devastating impact on them because, in effect, they would have wasted eight months of their lives. They would be going home to Nigeria with nothing to show for the amount of time and effort they’ve put into this venture and that is the last thing that they would like to see happen,” he said.
Even though he admitted that the administration of the programme “left a lot to be desired”, Comissiong contended that ending it was not the answer.
“Just imagine, this one project has the potential to bring to Barbados $5 million and this project is just scratching the surface of what is possible,” he pointed out.“Clearly, developing a relationship with the African continent can bring great benefits to Barbados. Clearly, Barbados has an education infrastructure that, if properly developed, could become an export industry and there are people from Africa who will wish to come to Barbados to pay for education services. Just as clear, the Commission for Pan-African Affairs must be centrally involved in all of these types of initiatives,” Comissiong added.