Step in, PM

Nigerian students call on stuart to help get programme back on track

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel for the 90 Nigerian students whose nine-month study programme in tourism and agriculture in Barbados was abruptly pulled by their government last month.

Liaison officer for the Barbados Government Derek Murray told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that project co-ordinator for the Nigeria Delta State Youth Empowerment Programme Donna St Hill, who is based in South Africa, was “working on something” that would benefit the students. However, Murray said he was not in a position to provide details.

His comments come against the backdrop of reports that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had been asked to use his good offices to speak with his Nigerian counterparts to get the programme for Barbados back on track.

A spokesman for the students, the majority of whom are currently staying at the Casa Grande Hotel in Oldbury, St Philip, said they had “sent a message” to the Prime Minister asking him to appeal to the Nigerian government to re-think its recent decision.

The spokesman, who did not want to be identified, told Barbados Today the students have also sent correspondence to their government pleading with authorities to resume the programme under which they were to pursue courses of study at the Barbados Community College.

Since the students arrived here last December, they have been embroiled in controversy, first complaining about the standard of accommodation and the quality of food and lack of water at the hotel.

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.

“We want to remain here and study. We are interested in studying. We sent a message to the Nigerian government pleading to rethink the programme. We plead with them to let the students who want to study stay here and study and the ones who do not want to study, send them back home,” the students’       spokesman added.

Meanwhile, sources close to the programme informed this newspaper that two senior Nigerian government officials, who had been intimately involved in the Barbados project, had been sacked.

They are Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education Professor Hope Eghagha and Director of Finance Paul Ataime.

It is understood that a new commissioner is now in place and the position of director of finance has been advertised, with an April 15 closing date for applications.

Earlier this month, it was the director of finance who sent emails to the students in Barbados, formally notifying them that the Empowerment Programme had been suspended.

The email read: “I have been directed to inform you, our trainees in Barbados, that in view of the challenges which you currently face on welfare, the admissions process, coupled with certain acts of rudeness exhibited by some of you, government has decided to suspend the Barbados end of the programme.”

Since that notification, five of the students had to be relocated from Casa Grande Hotel to another hotel for their protection and safety, according to an official.

The official has said that those students were being intimidated and even beaten by a very small group of “bad-behaved” colleagues, who have also been accused of orchestrating earlier complaints about accommodation, food and water.

17 Responses to Step in, PM

  1. Philip Matthews
    Philip Matthews February 20, 2015 at 7:52 am

    so , will we pay for them ??

  2. Doria Alleyne
    Doria Alleyne February 20, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I don’t trust these People at all! 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

  3. Stephen D Stewart
    Stephen D Stewart February 20, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Yet another fiasco this government has no idea how to fix….just one of many negative things going on in this country…

  4. Lisa Parris
    Lisa Parris February 20, 2015 at 9:16 am

    It is time to end this farce. We have enough locally generated mess to be looking to add peoples crap to it. Also, why is it taking so long for their government to take them home? Are we so gullible as a people?

  5. Ryan Henry
    Ryan Henry February 20, 2015 at 9:50 am

    I’m lost, wasn’t the entire group recalled to Nigeria. Whats the issue now. Why people in position of making decisions always making things so impossible. Wait is this like the last fiasco where a whole load of people was here on a one way ticket? Hmmm

  6. Jack Baeur
    Jack Baeur February 20, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Like I keep saying these ppl can’t b trusted ,count them heads and send them back I know that in the end they will all b living here .I thought their government called them home so why is ours trying to get them to stay…..I JUST DONT GET IT

    • Michele Monique Antoinette
      Michele Monique Antoinette February 20, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      Maybe I missed something, why can’t they be trusted? I thought they travelled here with the approval of the Barbadian government. I thought there gment paid for them to come. And I thought some of the money was mismanaged and the agreement not honored on our side. Who is it that can’t be trusted again???

  7. Maxine Hutchinson February 20, 2015 at 11:19 am

    If the Nigerian official was “directed” to cancel the programme why should our government need an idea as to how to fix it? Leave the Nigerians to sort out their mess. We were not in the beginning. Why should we get involved at the end? We have many things of our own with which we have to be concerned at this time. We will not be distracted by the Nigerians. Let them stew in the pot of water that they have boiling on their stove. We have to keep out of their kitchen.

  8. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner February 20, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Step in and do what this programme is not meant to be did it not say Nigerian government cancel it leave well alone or Barbados taxpayers gine get stuck with a bill.

    • Doria Alleyne
      Doria Alleyne February 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Those Nigerians are gonna take Barbados for a lot of money cause their are the biggest Frauds in the world belive me I know 🙁 🙁 🙁

    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner February 20, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Agree 100% but no one in Bim not listening.

  9. Tony WAterman February 20, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    @Maxine Hutchinson!!!!!So well said, and i have a Prediction, Those 90 “””STUDENTS ???”” will soon be APPLYING for IMMIGRATION STATUS in Barbados.
    this is just another Nigerian SCAM, Donna St.Hill is being DUPED, and this SILLY Government is getting involved.If their Sponsor Cancelled the project almost 2 wks ago, why are they still in Barbados. i hope that the Hotels they are in are being paid.

  10. Matthew Grosvenor
    Matthew Grosvenor February 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Government will not help, you can’t expect to disrespect a country and then ask for help. These people are really something. They should have put those lies to a stop. Turning off the pipes and going into the pool taking baths to mislead the public is very serious.

  11. Andrew Hulsmeier
    Andrew Hulsmeier February 20, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    PM too migrant Toño gwa gin on

  12. Michele Monique Antoinette
    Michele Monique Antoinette February 20, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I’m so tired of this sorry. Solve it already and move on.

  13. Shelly-Ann Walkes February 21, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I am trying to understand this situation! If their government have discontinued the program in Barbados, the BCC does not have the manpower to conduct the program and they have been asked to leave the island; why are these students not back at home exploring other options?

    It would seem to me that people think they can just come to my country and say and do as they please and no rules apply. Really can I go to Nigeria and behave in this manner?
    Solution: packup go home and consider other options …..


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